This time top-ranked Cincinnati took care of business right away.
The Bearcats opened the game with an 11-0 run and never even glanced over their shoulders as they went on to an 88-67 victory over Santa Clara on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Island Invitational.
Unlike the opening-round 91-56 win over Cleveland State that was a game for about half of the first half, Cincinnati made sure that any thoughts of a major upset by the Broncos were gone by the first TV timeout.
"We played really well the first half and stopped playing the second half," Huggins said. "We can be a lot better than that. We're still not rebounding the ball. As big and athletic as we are we should be going and getting it, not standing around and watching."
Senior center Kenyon Martin had 19 points and freshman guard DerMarr Johnson had 16 for Cincinnati, which averaged 92.5 points over its first two games, winning by an average margin of 31 points.
The Bearcats (3-0) will face Iowa State, which beat Arkansas 77-71, for the title Sunday.
The Broncos (2-1) missed their first nine shots before Brian Jones hit a 3-pointer 4:53 into the game.
They had another drought almost as long in the first half as the Bearcats used an 10-0 run to take a 37-12 lead with 4:41 left. During that run, which lasted 4:47, the Broncos missed five shots and committed five turnovers.
The Bearcats closed the half with an 11-3 run to tke a 48-21 lead, and freshman guard Kenny Satterfield was responsible for the last four baskets, feeding Johnson for two 3-pointers with passes off penetration, finding Pete Mickeal down low for a layup and hitting a short jumper.
The Bearcats shot 55 percent in the half (17-for-31), while holding Santa Clara to 23 percent (6-for-26).
"Our motivation is always putting all that hard work into getting up like that but keeping it there is something we have to work on," Johnson said.
Santa Clara was able to get within 19 points twice in the second half, the last time at 65-46 on a jumper by Jones with 10:37 left, but the Bearcats came right back with a 7-0 run the last four points from Johnson and the lead was back to 26 points with 6@1/2 minutes to play.
"We need to have the defense we played in the first half all game, every game," Johnson said. "I don't think we lacked a lot intensity in the second half it was just that they had nothing to lose and they were firing up some crazy shots that went in."
Mickeal had 15 points for Cincinnati, Steve Logan added 12 and Satterfield had 11 points and 10 assists, his first double-double in his third college game.
"I'm just happy we won. We're trying to be unselfish," said Satterfield, one of the young perimeter players to go with the veteran frontcourt. "The older guys are really making it easy for us. When Coach yells at us they tell us not to worry. He's just trying to get us to play hard."
Jones led the Broncos with 19 points, and Brian Vaka had 14.
"They're an awfully good team and we had a couple of chances to score early and didn't and that just fuels the fire," Santa Clara coach Dick Davey said. "I was a lot happier with the way we played in the second half than we did in the first but Cincinnati's got to be a little bored being up by 30 in the first half so I don't know if it was us playing a little better or them not playing as good."
It was Santa Clara's first game against a No. 1 team in almost 23 years and though both were losses, they were quite different. On Jan. 29, 1977, Chubby Cox hit a shot at the buzzer to give San Francisco a 71-70 victory.
Davey was asked what he hoped his team could take from a game like this so early in the season.
"The fact that we're 21 points worse thathe number one team in the country and see if we can cut into that gap," he said.
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