CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- It took a while, but Steve Logan finally took control.
Logan scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half as fifth-ranked Cincinnati set a school record for wins with a 77-63 victory over No. 10 Marquette in the championship game of the Conference USA tournament.
A two-time conference Player of the Year, Logan managed just seven points in a semifinal win over Charlotte on Friday and was not a a major factor in the first half on Friday, making just one shot.
But he came alive after intermission and sparked a 10-0 run that gave the Bearcats a 41-27 lead. Logan began the spurt with a jumper and added a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws as the Bearcats led by at least double digits the rest of the way.
The Bearcats shut Marquette defensively, switching from their normal man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone.
"We did it primarily to conserve energy and make them play a slower pace," Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. "I don't think we've played zone since I've been here. There was no way we could have played our type of man-to-man defense for 40 minutes." Cincinnati (30-3), which did not even break into the national rankings until mid-December, clinched its 11th straight berth in the NCAA Tournament and made its case for a top seed.
"I don't there is any question we should be (a top seed)," Huggins said. "We beat good people." The Bearcats broke the school record for wins set three times previously, most recently in 2000.
Immanuel McElroy and Leonard Stokes each had 12 points for the Bearcats, who won their first C-USA tournament crown since 1998.
Dwayne Wade scored 16 points for Marquette (26-6), which managed just a split in its last six games. The late slide could cost the Golden Eagles a chance at a second or third seed in the tournament.
"I think 26 wins is a good season. I'm excited to see their faces when the pairings come out," Marquette coach Tom Crean said.
Cincinnati closed the first half with a 18-4 run to take a 31-24 lead at intermission. Jason Maxiel highlighted the spurt by slamming home an alley-oop pass from Logan to make it 29-22.
The Bearcats took over defensively in the second half, limiting the Golden Eagles to just 33.8 percent shooting overall.
There was notable pushing and shoving between the bitter rivals in the second half. One one occasion, Maxiel punched an unsuspecting Cordell Henry in the stomach, sending the Marquette guard to the floor.
Henry combined for 51 points in Marquette's first two tournament wins, but was held to 11 on Saturday on 3-of-15 shooting. Travis Diener added 15 points for Marquette.
With Logan struggling the first half, Field Williams picked up the slack with nine points.
The Bearcats pulled away in the second half with a layup by Logan pushing the lead to 47-32. Maxiel brought the partisan Cincinnati crowd to its feet moments later with a slam dunk off a rebound to make it 49-35.