Memphis takes over sole possession of first place in the C-USA standings with a 70-47 win over East Carolina. The Tigers improved to 20-8 overall for their 12th straight 20-win season. UTEP posted back-to-back wins over league leaders as the Miners defeated Southern Miss, 76-68, in double overtime Wednesday. Head Coach Tim Floyd's young UTEP team defeated Memphis on Saturday. Rice head coach Ben Braun posted his 600th career win as the Owls rallied to defeat UCF, 83-74. Marshall moved into a tie for fourth place (and a shot at that C-USA Championship first-round bye) with a 66-58 win over visiting Houston. SMU closed out its three-game homestand, and made it a perfect 5-0 night for C-USA home teams, with a 64-50 win over Tulane.
Marshall 66, Houston 58: Marshall won its third-straight game with 66-58 victory over Houston. Senior G Damier Pitts (Charlotte, N.C.) led the Herd with 15 points and six assists. Sophomore G DeAndre Kane (Pittsburgh, Pa.) and senior F Dago Pena (Punta Gorda, Fla.) added 14 points apiece, while Dennis Tinnon (Green Bay, Wis.) chipped in with 10 points. Marshall opened the second half on a 16-3 run. Senior Shaquille Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla.) tied the school record for career games played (126). Junior F Leon Gibson (Downey, Calif.) came off the bench and tossed in a career-high 17 points to lead the Cougars, and added 11 rebounds for the first double-double of his career. Freshman Joseph Young (Houston, Texas) scored 16 points, while classmate TaShawn Thomas (Killeen, Texas) had 11 points and 14 rebounds for the eighth double-double of career (the most of any freshman in C-USA).
Memphis 70, East Carolina 47: The Tigers posted their 12th straight 20-win season with a 70-47 victory over visiting East Carolina. With the win, and a Southern Miss loss, the Tigers take sole possession of first place in the C-USA standings. Sophomore Will Barton (Baltimore, Md.) scored a game-high 25 points, including 17 in the first half, and grabbed eight boards for Memphis. Classmates Joe Jackson (Memphis, Tenn.) and Antonio Barton (Baltimore, Md.) added 13 and 11 points, respectively. Sophomore Tarik Black (Memphis, Tenn.), coming off a career-high 26-point performance on Saturday, contributed nine points and nine rebounds. Memphis allowed just 15 second half points -- the lowest point total in a half since Feb. 28, 2009, against Southern Miss (14). ECU junior G Miguel Paul (Winter Haven, Fla.) also tossed in 17 in the first half and finished with 20 points.
SMU 64, Tulane 50: Junior G London Giles scored a team-high 17 points to lead the Mustangs to a 64-50 win over Tulane. The win snapped an eight-game losing skid in conference play (SMU did defeat non-conference foe TCU, 68-62.) It was Giles' 16th double-figure scoring game of the season. Senior Robert Nyakundi (Arlington, Texas) and sophomore Jeremiah Samarrippas (Bartow, Fla.) added nine points apiece. Nyakundi now has 1,287 career points to rank 18th all-time in school history. The Mustangs posted their second-best shooting performance of the season (.535), and their best (.571) was at Tulane on Jan. 25. Seven-time C-USA Freshman of the Week selection Ricky Tarrant (Pleasant Grove, Ala.) scored a game-high 21 points for the Green Wave.
Rice 83, UCF 74: Rice head coach Ben Braun earned his 600th career win as the Owls rallied to defeat UCF, 83-74. Braun is only the 12th active NCAA Division I coach to reach that milestone. UCF had a 15 point lead in the first half, but Rice outscored the Knights, 46-25 in the second half. Freshman Dylan Ennis (Brampton, Ontario) tallied 15 points, five rebounds and five assists. Junior F Arsalan Kazemi (Esfahan, Iran) scored 12 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. The Knights were led by junior F Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.), who tossed in a game-high 18 points, 16 in the first half, despite an ankle injury.
UTEP 76, Southern Miss 68 (2OT): Five Miners scored in double figures as UTEP rallied from a 16-point deficit to defeat Southern Miss, 76-68. Freshman G C.J. Cooper (La Verne, Calif.) came off the bench to lead the Miners with 16 points, including hitting the shot on a fadeaway at the end of regulation to send the game into the first overtime. Sophomore C John Bohannon (Lancaster, Texas) also came off the bench for 14 points, and that total was matched by freshman Julian Washburn (Duncanville, Texas). That duo also combined for 13 rebounds. Senior Gabriel McCulley (Memphis, Tenn.) scored 12 points, and junior G Jacques Streeter (Los Angeles, Calif.) added 10. Southern Miss also had their top performance from the bench as senior Darnell Dodson (Green Belt, Md.) poured in 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Junior F Jonathan Mills registered his fourth double-double, and third in a row, with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior G LaShay Page (Dillon, S.C.), who received news of the passing of his mother Cathy earlier in the day, contributed 12 points in 42 minutes.
C-USA UPCOMING GAMES Saturday, February 25
Memphis at Marshall (FSN) - 3:00p
UAB at East Carolina - 4:00p
SMU at Houston - 7:00p
Rice at Southern Miss (CSS) - 7:00p
Tulsa at Tulane (CST) - 7:00p
UTEP at UCF (CBSSN) - 7:00p