Seven minutes of tranquility was all that Bob Huggins could muster.

In his first game since a massive heart attack, the Cincinnati basketball coach acted nothing like a cardiac patient. He ranted at officials and players alike and kicked the scorer's table during a 71-51 exhibition victory over visiting Northern Kentucky last night.

Six weeks to the day that he collapsed in Pittsburgh's airport, the 49-year-old Huggins took the court dressed in black -- shirt, jacket and pants -- and lived up to his promise that he was not going to be any different.

It took a few minutes of bad basketball to bring out the coach in him. He crouched at the corner of the bench for the first three minutes of a ragged exhibition against a Division II team, saying nothing as the Bearcats fumbled.

As mistakes mounted, Huggins winced, wiped his hand across his face and let his anger simmer. Finally, he could hold it in no more.

At 12 minutes 32 seconds of the first half, Huggins called a 30-second timeout to scream at Rod Flowers. Huggins locked his eyes on the junior forward and waved a finger in front of his face during the extended scolding.

A few seconds later, Huggins erupted at official James Breeding over a charge call. He also got angry at official Brent Hampton before Cincinnati ended the half leading 34-22.

The Bearcats return one full-time starter from a team that went 31-4 and lost to UCLA in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Their inexperience showed in defensive breakdowns and a stagnant offense that drew Huggins's ire.

He kept his players in the locker room instead of letting them warm up for the start of the second half. He removed his black jacket -- a sure sign of his displeasure -- as his players returned to the court.

Five minutes into the second half, Huggins went onto the court during a timeout and screamed at Breeding. After a three-pointer, he wheeled and kicked an advertising panel.

-- From News Services