Feb. 10, 2008
It was a good Saturday for the home teams as five host squads picked up wins. The lone exception was a Houston squad, who won its third straight game and seven of its last eight, with a 66-56 road victory at Tulane. CSTV featured a Conference USA doubleheader on Saturday afternoon, beginning with Marshall winning a rematch against East Carolina, 83-49, to split the series. Top-ranked Memphis hosted UCF in the second game and the Tigers won their 23rd straight game and 46th at FedExForum, 85-64. UAB won its 11th game at Bartow Arena with an 81-73 victory against UTEP, while Tulsa improved to 8-2 at home by defeating Southern Miss, 68-53. SMU rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to defeat Rice, 68-53, at Moody Coliseum.
MARSHALL 83, EAST CAROLINA 49
HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Marshall dominated play in the paint, aided by a career- and game-high 25 points from sophomore forward Tyler Wilkerson, to cruise past East Carolina 83-49 in Conference USA action on Saturday at the Cam Henderson Center. Wilkerson also grabbed a game-high seven rebounds.
The win was Marshall's biggest in league play since a 46-point drubbing of former Southern Conference foe Georgia Southern, 96-50, on Feb. 26, 1996.
Wilkerson's 12-for-13 shooting performance helped the Thundering Herd (12-10, 4-5 C-USA) to a 46-16 advantage in points in the paint and a 52.4 shooting percentage. The sophomore's 12 field goals and two assists are also new career bests and his 25 points stand as a team season-high.
Wilkerson's career day also marked the first time a Marshall player sank 10 or more field goals since Markel Humphrey went 10-for-14 versus UCF on Jan. 13, 2007. Humphrey recorded his career-high that night of 25 points, which was the most scored by a Herd player until Wilkerson's total on Saturday versus East Carolina.
A Wilkerson jumper with 13 minutes left in the first half gave Marshall a 13-12 edge and a lead it would not relinquish. The field goal sparked a 16-3 Marshall run for a 27-15 lead, fueled by three dunks and 11 points from Wilkerson.
East Carolina chipped away to get to within eight points, 30-22, with four minutes remaining, but Marshall entered halftime up 36-25 and never looked back from there.
Wilkerson scored 19 points in 15 first-half minutes. The Herd shot 50 percent in the opening 20 minutes and held East Carolina (8-13, 2-6) to a 36.4 percent clip.
With memories of a 13-point loss at East Carolina in January still fresh in their minds, the Marshall players continued the onslaught in the second half. The Herd's lead never dipped below 11 points after halftime and ballooned to 20 points at 12:43 of the second half.
The Herd's dominance on the boards (42-24) elicited a season-best plus-18 rebound margin and a 21-3 edge in second-chance points - MU's 19 offensive rebounds are its most since grabbing 19 at Louisville on Dec. 18. The Herd also sank a season-high 33 field goals (33-for-63) and turned the ball over a season-low nine times.
Humphrey netted 15 points on 4-of-7 shooting, his highest point total in four games since his return from injury. The junior added six rebounds, three assists and a steal in 32 minutes. Freshman Tirrell Baines scored 14 points and Mark Dorris recorded 10 points with five assists and three steals for MU.
Dorris matched fellow guard Pierre-Marie Altidor Cespedes with a game-high five assists. Kentucky transfer Adam Williams dished out a career-high four assists in helping MU to 21 assists in the contest.
ECU was held without a double-digit scorer, although the Pirates' bench outscored Marshall's 19-11. Senior Cory Farmer scored a team-high nine points, followed by eight points from guard Darrell Jenkins. Ninth in the NCAA in assists per game (6.4), Jenkins tallied four helpers. Sophomore John Fields led the Pirates with four rebounds.
The Herd grabbed its biggest lead of the game, 36 points, on an Altidor Cespedes layup with just under a minute remaining.
The 34-point win was all the more impressive due to the fact that junior guard Darryl Merthie did not play due to an ankle injury. Merthie had been averaging 13 points per game the last five outings. Guard Taurean Marshall also did not play after returning from an eight-game injury absence on Wednesday at UCF. Forward Jean Francois Bro Grebe did not dress due to soreness in his surgically-repaired knee.
The win moved Marshall to 11-2 at home this season, its most home victories since the 2002-03 campaign. The Herd has won seven of its last nine C-USA home games.
HOUSTON 66, TULANE 56
NEW ORLEANS - With both teams struggling to score early into the game, Houston increased its defensive intensity to beat Tulane, 66-56, at Fogelman Arena.
The Cougars began the game shooting just 1-9 from the field in the first four minutes of the game with the lone field goal coming from senior guard Robert McKiver, who hit a three-point shot from the right wing with 15:32 remaining in the opening period.
Tulane also was struggling to score as the Green Wave opened the game hitting two of their first six shots, but more importantly, missed four of its first five free throws.
McKiver's jumper closed the Cougars to within 5-3 and that is when Houston began turning up the pressure. Houston's defensive efforts resulted in Tulane turning the ball over 15 times in the first half and gave the Cougars a 29-28 lead at halftime despite shooting just 27 percent from the field.
The Cougars opened the second half scoring five points after DeShaun Williams stole the ball from David Gomez and raced down court for a lay-up. Then Lanny Smith nailed his second three-point shot in the game to give the Cougars a 34-29 lead.
The Cougars extended its lead to 53-37 when freshman Brockeith Pane hit a three-point shot just left of the key.
The Green Wave had a late rally to close to within 59-52 with 2:11 to play, but Tafari Toney nailed a three-point shot from the left baseline to open Houston's lead back to double digits.
The Cougars forced 12 turnovers and hit eight 3-pointers as it outscored Tulane 37-28 in the second half and went on to win the game 66-56. The victory improves Houston's record to 18-4 overall this season. The Cougars are 7-1 in league play and are 4-0 in C-USA road games this season.
Houston also ended the game scoring 37 points off of Tulane's 27 turnovers.
McKiver led the Cougars with 25 points and Williams added 12 off the bench. Toney and Smith each finished the game with six points, while Kelvin Lewis added five points.
Tulane (15-8, 5-4 C-USA) shot 52.4 percent from the field, and Gomez led the Green Wave with 17 points. Donnavan Stith added 15 points, while Stith and Gomez grabbed nine rebounds apiece.
NO. 1 MEMPHIS 85, UCF 64
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Robert Dozier scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds to help the top-ranked Tigers remain the nation's only undefeated team with an 85-64 win over UCF.
Senior Joey Dorsey had 12 points and 13 rebounds, and freshman Derrick Rose led the Tigers (23-0, 9-0) with 15 points, extending the country's longest active home winning streak to 46.
Willie Kemp, Dozier and Rose hit consecutive 3-pointers as the Tigers scored 16 straight points over a six-minute run early in the second half, taking a 65-42 lead that was never challenged. Memphis had nine players score from beyond the arc.
"We're raising the stakes as we go forward," Calipari said. "UCF's a good team, but when we make 3s we become a tough team to beat."
Senior Mike O'Donnell led UCF (12-11, 5-4) with 15 points, and junior Jermaine Taylor added 13 points and five rebounds.
The Knights were trying to topple the highest ranked opponent in school history, in just their second crack against the nation's best. UCF lost 92-70 to Calipari's No. 1 Massachusetts team in 1996.
"They're tough. They're the No. 1 team for a reason," O'Donnell said. "If they become consistent from the outside, they're a very dangerous team."
Dorsey closed the game with 1,080 career boards for Memphis, becoming the league's career rebounding leader. Former Tigers standout Kelly Wise previously held the conference mark at 1,075.
Memphis used a 17-6 run over a five-minute stretch to take a 43-35 lead after the opening half.
The Tigers started off slow against another outmatched Conference USA opponent. Memphis only made two of its first 10 shots from the floor, in an up-and-down first half that featured 11 ties or lead changes.
Dave Noel's free throws with 6:06 left put UCF ahead 27-26, its last lead of the game.
"They do it off their defense. They have one of the best defenses in the country, but they don't get credit for it," UCF coach Kirk Speraw said. "Cal's done a tremendous job of getting those guys to play hard and compete hard defensively. That's why they are undefeated."
TULSA 78, SOUTHERN MISS 63
TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Sophomore Ben Uzoh scored 18 points to help Tulsa roll to an early lead and cruised to a 78-63 win over Southern Miss on Saturday night.
Tulsa (11-10, 3-6 Conference USA) took a 40-15 halftime lead as Uzoh scored 12 points while limiting Southern Miss' Jeremy Wise to four points. Wise finished with 21 after a late flurry in the second half.
The Golden Hurricane held Southern Miss (12-11, 4-5) to 17 percent shooting in the first half while making 60 percent of its own shots. It was the lowest first-half total this season both by the Golden Eagles and any Tulsa opponent.
Jerome Jordan had 17 points and seven rebounds, senior Brett McDade had 13 points and Calvin Walls scored 12 points and grabbed nine boards for Tulsa.
Freshman R.L. Horton had 14 points and Sai'Quon Stone added 10 for the Golden Eagles.
Tulsa shot 59.2 percent for the game, going 29-of-49 from the field, and allowed the Golden Eagles to come no closer than 14 points in the second half.
Uzoh scored on a variety of acrobatic drives and took Wise totally out of the game during the first half. He received plenty of help from his teammates defensively, particularly the 6-foot-11 Jordan, who blocked three shots and altered many others. Uzoh finished 8-of-11 from the field and added seven rebounds.
"I thought we had great rotation and Ben did a real nice job," Tulsa coach Doug Wocik said. "It's hard to say if that was our best (half of basketball) but it was very good. When you hold a team to 15 points and build a 25-point lead, that's a great team effort."
Tulsa jumped out to a 19-4 lead and after Southern Miss closed to 21-9, the Golden Hurricane added another 11-0 run, spurred by three baskets by Jordan.
UAB 81, UTEP 73
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- Lawrence Kinnard scored 23 points and Robert Vaden added 17 to lead UAB to an 81-73 victory over UTEP on Saturday night.
The win improves the Blazers to 11-0 in home games this season. It is the best-ever start at Bartow Arena, and the best home start to a season since beginning 11-0 during the 1983-84 campaign. The Blazers had two perfect home records in a season in 1981-82 (14-0) and 1982-83 (14-0).
Channing Toney had 12 points and Howard Crawford had 10 as UAB (16-7,6-2 Conference USA) held off a late rally from UTEP (14-8, 5-4).
Junior Stefon Jackson scored 22 points and Randy Culpepper had 20 to lead UTEP. Marvin Kilgore added 10 points for the Miners.
UAB took a 67-57 lead when Vaden hit a 3-pointer with 7:10 left in the game. The Blazers led as much as 14 points (71-57) with 5:32 remaining, but UTEP chipped away at the lead, with Jackson scoring 13 points down the stretch.
The Miners pulled to within 73-71 on a free throw by Kilgore with 1:20 left, but Vaden hit four free throws, and Aaron Johnson drove for a clutch layup to help UAB hang on. Johnson finished the game with a game-high seven assists to go with seven points and four rebounds.
UAB jumped to a 17-9 lead early, but Jackson hit two baskets to help UTEP come back.
The Miners grabbed a 31-29 lead with just under three minutes left in the half. But a follow shot and two free throws by Reggie Huffman gave UAB a 35-34 lead at the break.
Huffman finished with nine rebounds to help UAB to a 51-32 advantage on the boards. Huffman made his first start in three games after nursing an injury.
SMU 68, RICE 53
DALLAS (AP) - Senior Derrick Roberts scored 20 points and Mike Walker added 12, including the go-ahead 3-pointer late in the game, as SMU came back to beat Rice, 68-53, Saturday night. The Mustangs (8-13, 2-6 C-USA) fell behind early, trailing at halftime (34-23) and never leading until Walker's 3-point shot with 4:38 remaining put them up 51-50. SMU then closed the game on a 17-3 run, with senior Jon Killen scoring on eight free throws and Roberts adding six more points.
Killen finished with 11 points and five assists. Killen led as the Mustangs hit 22-of-23 free throws in the game, which tied for the fourth-best performance in school history at 95.7 percent. Rice (3-19, 0-9) looked like it might get its first conference win and break an 11-game losing streak, building a big lead on 54 percent first-half shooting. But then the Owls went 8-of-28 from the field (29 percent). Patrick Britton led the Owls with 14 points. Rodney Foster had 11 points.
Killen and Walker each had five assists and three steals for SMU. Killen has 135 career steals, which is one off eighth all-time at SMU. Bamba had two blocks and 11 points to give SMU four double-figure scorers.