Memphis, Southern Miss and Tulsa each clinched a first-round bye in the 2012 C-USA Men's Basketball Championship, but seeding is all still to be determined over the final two games of the regular season. All three posted big wins, with the Golden Eagles' 58-56 decision over Rice counting as head coach Larry Eustachy's 400th career victory. Memphis and Tulsa both won on the road at Marshall and Tulane, respectively. UCF improved to 20-8 overall and 15-1 at UCF Arena with a 63-45 victory over UTEP, snapping the Miners' four-game win streak. UAB defeated East Carolina, 61-57, and the Blazers have won sixth of their last seven contests to remain in contention for the final tournament bye. Houston edged SMU, 62-59. Seniors Cameron Moore of UAB and Steven Idlet of Tulsa both scored their 1,000th career points in their team wins.
Memphis 87, Marshall 67
UAB 61, East Carolina 57
Southern Miss 58, Rice 56
Tulsa 73, Tulane 69
UCF 63, UTEP 45
Houston 62, SMU 59
C-USA MEN'S BASKETBALL SHOOTING STARS
Memphis 87, Marshall 67: Memphis clinched a first-round bye in the 2012 C-USA Championship with an 87-67 road win at Marshall. Four Tigers scored in double-figures as the team registered its second best field goal percentage of the season (.596) and 14th time they've been better than .500 from the field. It was the highest percentage allowed by Marshall this season as the Herd snapped a three-game win streak. Memphis closed the game on a 20-7 run spurred by back-to-back three-point plays by sophomore G Will Barton (Memphis, Tenn.), who finished with a game-high 24 points. Joe Jackson (Memphis, Tenn.) finished with 21 points, going 13-of-15 from the free throw line, and Tarik Black (Memphis, Tenn.) made all eight of his shots from the floor to finish with 18 points. Sophomore Chris Crawford (Memphis, Tenn.) did it all with 16 points, eight assist, seven rebounds and three steals. Marshall junior Dennis Tinnon (Green Bay, Wis.) recorded his ninth double-double of the season with 16 points, on 6-of-9 shooting from the field, and 10 rebounds. Sophomore G DeAndre Kane (Pittsburgh, Pa.) also had 16 points to go with four assists. Senior G Shaquille Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla.) scored 10 points for the fifth time in his last seven games. He also became Marshall's all-time leader in games played, passing Darryl Merthie, and has missed just one contest in his career to total 127 games.
UAB 61, East Carolina 57: UAB won its sixth game in its last seven outings with a 61-57 victory at East Carolina. UAB senior Cameron Moore (San Antonio, Texas) led the Blazers with 21 points and 14 rebounds for his 13th double-double of the season and 27th of his career. Additionally, he scored his 1,000th career point during the second half to make him only the third Blazer to tally 1,000 points and 700 rebounds in his career. Sophomore G Preston Purifoy (Conway, Ark.) added 15 points. East Carolina junior G Shamarr Bowden (Greensboro, N.C.) scored a career-high 27 points. Senior Darrius Morrow (Atlanta, Ga.) chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds, while sophomore F Robert Sampson (Atlanta, Ga.) added 10 points.
Southern Miss 58, Rice 56: Junior F Jonathan Mills (Chicago, Ill.) hit two free throws in the final second to lift the Golden Eagles to a 58-56 win over Rice. It was head coach Larry Eustachy's 400th career victory and Southern Miss improved to 23-6 overall and a perfect 14-0 at Reed Green Arena. The 23 wins tied the most wins since joining Division I and is just the second time since joining C-USA that it won at least 10 conference games. Mills was just one rebound away from his fourth straight double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing nine boards. Sophomore G Neil Watson (Kansas City, Kan.) had a team-high 13 points to along with four rebounds and four assists. Senior G Maurice Bolden (Jackson, Miss.) had 10 points and eight rebounds. The Golden Eagles were without leading scorer LaShay Page, who was with family following the passing of his mother on Wednesday. Rice freshman Dylan Ennis (Brampton, Ontario) scored 18 points & had 10 rebounds for first points-rebounds, double-double of the season. He also has one points-assists double-double this year. With one block in the game, sophomore C Omar Oraby (Cairo, Egypt) set the Rice single-season block record with 46, passing Yamar Diene's 2002-03 tally of 45. Junior F Arsalan Kazemi (Esfahan, Iran) was just one rebound shy of a conference record 43rd career double-double with 17 points and nine boards.
Tulsa 73, Tulane 69: Five Tulsa players scored in double figures in a 73-69 road win that keeps the Golden Hurricane in a tie for second place in the C-USA standings. Freshman G Eric McClellan (Austin, Texas), who finished with 15 points and made two free throws with 17 seconds left to give Tulsa a three-point lead. Sophomore G Tim Peete (Memphis, Tenn.) gave TU a four-point cushion with four seconds left and ice the game. Senior F Steven Idlet (Prairie Grove, Ark.) became the 34th player in Tulsa history to eclipse 1,000 points with his 11 in the game. Sophomore G Jordan Clarkson also tallied 15 points for his 25th straight game scoring in double figures. Junior G Scottie Haralson (Jackson, Miss.) made three three-pointers and totaled 11 points in the game. Tulsa shot 54 percent from the floor and outrebounded Tulane 37-25. In the second half, Tulane went on a 10-0 run to erase a 63-55 Tulsa lead and gave the Wave a 65-63 advantage with 2:36 left. The teams traded the lead six times in the final three minutes. Tulane freshman Ricky Tarrant (Pleasant Grove, Ala.) scored 21 points, including 12 in the second half, to lead the Green Wave offense for the 12th-straight game and he leads C-USA by averaging 19.6 ppg in conference games this season.
UCF 63, UTEP 45: Sophomore G Isaiah Sykes (Detroit, Mich.) scored a game-high 23 points - 17 in the second half - and added 11 rebounds to help the UCF improve to 20-8 overall with a 63-45 triumph over UTEP. The Knights are also 15-1 this season at the UCF Arena. Sykes shot 9-of-17 from the field and also grabbed five offensive rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season. He was one of three Knights who finished with double-figures in scoring as junior F Keith Clanton (Orlando, Fla.) totaled 12 points and seven rebounds and junior G Marcus Jordan (Chicago, Ill.) added 11 points. UTEP shot 47.6 percent for the game and was led by sophomore John Bohannon (Lancaster, Texas), who scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Houston 62, SMU 59Redshirt freshman Joseph Young (Houston, Texas) scored a career-high 27 points as the Cougars held off a second-half rally for a 62-59 victory over SMU. Young connected on four three-pointers and was a perfect 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. Junior G Jonathon Simmons (Houston, Texas) tossed in 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Houston, and freshman TaShawn Thomas (Killeen, Texas) contributed 10 points. Senior Robert Nyakundi (Arlington, Texas) led the Mustangs with 24 points, including 6-of-10 from beyond the three-point arc. Sophomore G Jeremiah Samarrippas (Bartow, Fla.) had nine assists and sophomore F Shawn Williams (Duncanville, Texas) had seven rebounds. Houston held a 22-6 scoring advantage in the paint.
C-USA UPCOMING GAMES Tuesday, February 28
UCF at Memphis (CSS) - 8:00p
Wed., February 29
Marshall at East Carolina (WITN/WSAZ) - 6:00p
Tulane at Houston - 7:00p
SMU at Southern Miss - 7:00p
Tulsa at UAB (CBSSN) - 7:00p
Rice at UTEP - 8:00p