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Updated: Thursday, January 8, 2004 12:16 AM EST
NCAA BASKETBALL RECAP
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(10) Cincinnati 71, Tulane 44

NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Cincinnati's 100th Conference USA victory hardly was an artistic success.

Tony Bobbitt scored 18 points off the bench and Field Williams and Jason Maxiell added 13 apiece as the Bearcats pulled away late for a 71-44 victory over Tulane in the conference opener for both teams.

The 44 points allowed were a season low for Cincinnati (10-0, 1-0 C-USA), but coach Bob Huggins was unhappy with the Bearcats' performance in the first half. They led, 33-24, at intermission.

"We were a step behind everything (in the first half)," Huggins said. "We were really rushing things offensively. We needed to slow down offensively. We just rushed everything, shot it too quick."

Bobbitt admitted Huggins ripped into the team at halftime.

"The problem was that we (fooled) around too much in practice," he said. "Coach Huggins told us if you play around in practice, it's going to to show in games. Now that we got our butts chewed, we'll come back tomorrow and practice with more focus."

Cincinnati matched its best start since the 1998-99 campaign and improved to 100-25 in eight seasons in the league.

A 3-pointer by Vytas Tatarunas pulled Tulane (6-5, 0-1) within 48-38 with 10 1/2 minutes left, but the Green Wave were held to just six points thereafter.

"We didn't really didn't change a whole lot (in the second half) other than our effort," Huggins said.

Tatarunas scored 15 points to pace Tulane, which shot under under 29 percent (15-of-52) from the field.

"We were getting the looks," Tulane coach Shawn Finney said. "We just weren't knocking them down. It's plain and simple. We had all the open looks you could ask for."

The Bearcats only shot 43.5 percent (27-of-62) but converted 20 Tulane turnovers into 22 points. They also had a 47-33 edge on the boards, with Maxiell grabbing 11 rebounds and Kareem Johnson 10.

"We came out in the second half and just played," Bobbitt said.


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