Ohio's slowdown offense lulled Cincinnati for a half, but Pete Mickeal led a second-half run that rallied the nation's top-ranked team to a 73-59 victory tonight.

Cincinnati (16-1) allowed its fourth midnight game during Coach Bob Huggins's 11 seasons to turn into another late-night scare.

The Bearcats' last midnight game turned into their last home-court loss, 87-79 to Arizona State on Nov. 21, 1997.

Ohio (9-8) kept Cincinnati's lead to single digits throughout the first half and trailed 34-29 at the break. Mickeal and Jermaine Tate got Cincinnati energized early in the second half, setting up the Bearcats' 39th straight win at home.

Tate made two baskets and Mickeal rebounded Tate's missed free throw for a putback. Mickeal's three-pointer finished a nine-point run that made it 45-32, Cincinnati's first double-digit lead.

After Ohio cut it to six again, Mickeal hit two more driving baskets and a free throw. Ohio never got closer than 11 again. Mickeal had 18 points and eight rebounds, and Tate added 13 points.

Steve Esterkamp scored 13 points and Sanjay Adell had 12 for Ohio, which broke with its history of getting overwhelmed by top-ranked teams. The Bobcats had played a No. 1 team five other times and lost by 24, 42, 47, 30 and 21 points.

Cincinnati also was ranked No. 1 when the teams played on Dec. 29, 1962. The instate schools have played 75 times, but had not met in 26 years.

The loudest crowd of the season at the Shoemaker Center greeted Ohio with a profane chant, then went uneasily quiet as the Bobcats slowed down the pace and stayed right with the country's top team for more than a half.

East-West Shrine Classic Football GameWhere: Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, Calif.

When: 4 p.m.


Coaches: East--Steve Spurrier, Florida; West--Bruce Snyder, Kansas State.

Area Players: East--DB-WR Jerry Porter, West Virginia (Coolidge High); LB Dhani Jones, Michigan (Churchill).

Today's Basketball Games


American vs. East Carolina, 2

George Mason vs. Old Dominion, 7

Georgetown vs. Miami, noon

George Washington at Virginia Tech, 2

Howard at Hampton, 4

Maryland at Georgia Tech, 8

Virginia at Clemson, noon

Others: Bowie State at Shaw, 7:30; Catholic vs. Goucher, 4; Gallaudet at Marymount, 4; UDC vs. Lincoln, 4; Montgomery-Germantown vs. Dundalk, 5; Montgomery-Rockville vs. Chesapeake, 7; Prince George's at Allegany, 7


Maryland at Virginia, 2

Howard at Hampton, 2

Others: Bowie State at Shaw, 5:30; Catholic vs. Goucher, 2; Gallaudet at Marymount, 2; UDC vs. Lincoln, 2; Montgomery-Rockville vs. Garrett, 4