Conference USA Basketball Roundup

Another week has gone by in the C-USA and what else is new, Memphis is undefeated. John Calipari's Tigers are playing stifling defense and some close early season contests have turned into blowouts. Memphis has now won 52 straight C-USA games, and there's no end to their dominance in sight.

The Defending Champs Keep Rolling (Hattiesburg, MS)--The Memphis Tigers (21-3, 10-0 in conference) made it a perfect 10 in a row in conference as they smacked the Southern Miss Eagles on their home court in Hattiesburg, MS, 72-47. Super freshman Tyreke Evans led all scorers with 19 points on 7-14 shooting, and seniors Robert Dozier and Antonio Anderson each chipped in with 12 points. The Tigers defense held Southern Miss to just 37.5% shooting from the field (18-48) and forced 11 turnovers.

The victory was Memphis' 16th in a row and they've moved from outside the AP Top 25 just a few weeks ago to currently the number eight ranking in the nation. Southern Miss (7-16, 3-7 in conference) dropped their fifth straight game and is now tied for ninth place in the C-USA with both Marshall and Rice.

No Style Points for the Blazers (Birmingham, AL)--
The second place UAB Blazers (17-8, 6-3 in conference) received all they could handle from last place SMU as the Blazers held on for a 78-75 victory in Birmingham, AL. UAB was led by forward Lawrence Kinnard's 22 points and six rebounds, and Robert Vaden added 18 points.. Freshman guard Paul McCoy paced the Mustangs as he scored a career high 29 points on 12-20 shooting in the loss.

The victory was UAB's fourth in a row and the Blazers have won seven out of their last eight games. Despite the great effort, SMU (7-16, 1-9 in conference) dropped their second straight game and have lost seven out of their last eight contests.

Game of the Week (Orlando, FL)--
The most exciting game of the night certainly took place in Orlando as the UCF Knights overcame a 17 point deficit with just over 10 minutes to play to record a last second 74-72 victory over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane. The Knights secured victory when freshman guard A.J. Rompza floated in a shot in the lane as time expired. C-USA leading scorer Jermaine "The Beast" Taylor didn't disappoint as he scored 35 points on 10-21 shooting, including 22 points in the second half. Taylor became UCF's all-time leading scorer with a first-half three-point shot.

The victory stopped a three-game losing skid for UCF (16-9, 6-5 in conference), and it was Tulsa's (17-9, 7-4 in conference) second consecutive defeat following five straight wins.

An Unlikely Hero for Houston (Houston, TX)--
The Houston Cougars kept pace with UAB for second place in C-USA as they scored an 83-64 victory over Tulane in Houston. Sophomore guard Zamal Nixon entered the game averaging just under four points per game for the Cougars, but broke out with a career high 23 points on 9-15 shooting. The Cougars hit on 27 of 28 free throw attempts to secure the victory.

Houston (16-7, 7-3 in conference) has won four consecutive games, while Tulane (10-14, 4-7 in conference) has dropped four out of their last five games.

Tough on the Border (El Paso, TX)--The UTEP Miners continued to show why El Paso is such a tough venue for road teams to win as they improved to 9-3 at home with a 74-67 victory over Marshall. Star guard Stefon Jackson led the Miners with 35 points while hitting on all 20 of his free throw attempts. Sharpshooter Chris Lutz led the Thundering Herd with 24 points as he canned seven shots from long distance.

The victory was the second in a row for UTEP (15-9, 6-4 in conference) and the fourth out of their last five. Meanwhile Marshall (11-14, 3-7 in conference) snapped a two-game winning streak.

Late Three Lifts Pirates in OT (Greenville, NC)-- East Carolina won their third consecutive home game as they defeated Rice in a 91-88 overtime thriller. Senior guard James Legan paved the way for the Pirates as he bucketed 20 points including a three-pointer with five seconds remaining in overtime to give ECU the win. Senior guard Rodney Foster led the Owls with 24 points, including six three-point shots.

The win was the third in the last four contests for East Carolina (13-11, 5-6 in conference), while Rice (8-16, 3-7 in conference) dropped their second out of three contests and the two teams split the season series.


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