CHARLOTTE (8-12, 3-5): On Tuesday, Charlotte traveled to the Hoosier State for their final non-conference game of the year as they took on the Crusaders of Valparaiso. The 49ers shot a pathetic 29% from the floor in the first half, finding themselves down by 19 at the half, and eventually succumbed in a 73-59 decision. On Saturday, UNCC went into DePaul looking to stop their four-of-five game slide. CURTIS WITHERS had 18 points and 7 rebounds, but the 49ers dropped their eighth road game of the year, 72-64. This week, Charlotte will host Houston on Wednesday and Cincinnati on Saturday.
CINCINNATI (14-6, 6-3): Last week, Cincinnati continued their brutal schedule on Wednesday with a game at Louisville. The Bearcats, who had been kicked out of their normal locker room in the Shoemaker Center due to their lack of effort by coach BOB HUGGINS, came out flat against the Cardinals. Down at the half, UC's second half effort was not enough as the Bearcats lost 77-71. On Sunday, the Cowboys of Oklahoma State came to Cincinnati for a national television showdown. Trying to avoid their fourth straight loss, the Bearcats were led by JASON MAXIELL's career-high 24 points as they won 61-50. This week, the Bearcats have the work week off with a trip to Charlotte looming on Saturday.
DEPAUL (12-7, 4-4): In the Blue Demons' only game of the week, DePaul hosted Charlotte on Saturday in the Allstate Arena. SAM HOSKIN scored a season-high 25 points, including hitting all 6 of his free throws as the Blue Demons won 72-64. The win improved DePaul's record to 11-1 at home while also snapping the team's four game losing streak overall. This week, the Blue Demons will host Marquette on Wednesday and will travel Hattiesburg on Saturday to face Southern Mississippi.
EAST CAROLINA (12-9, 3-7): On Tuesday, the Pirates traveled to the Pyramid in Memphis for an interdivisional match-up with the Tigers. GABRIEL MIKULAS was the only ECU player in double figures with 14 points, as no other Pirate had more than 6 to his credit. On Saturday, ECU hosted Southern Mississippi, another National Division opponent. Overcoming a two point halftime deficit, DERRICK WILEY lit up the scoreboard in the second period scoring 17 of his 21 points in that time as ECU downed the Golden Eagles 60-57. The 12th win of the year for the Pirates matches their season total from all of last season. This week, ECU will travel to Saint Louis on Saturday, continuing their conference run.
LOUISVILLE (18-1, 8-0): On Wednesday night, in the Five Stars Game of the Week, the Cardinals hosted rival Cincinnati in Freedom Hall. Freshman FRANCISCO GARCIA scored 8 three-point baskets accounting for all his points as UofL gained a big conference win with a 77-71 score. On Saturday night, in yet another nationally televised game, the Cards went down to Houston, looking to stay unbeaten on the road (their loss was on a neutral floor). In a surprising turn of events, the Cardinals had a spectacular first half and kept control of the game in the second period, led by MARVIN STONE's 17 points in an 81-55 victory, their 17th in a row. This week, the Cards stay on the road with trips to Saint Louis on Wednesday and Marquette on Saturday in what should be a rather intriguing game for control of first place in the conference.
MARQUETTE (17-3, 8-1): On Wednesday, the Golden Eagles hosted Saint Louis in the Bradley Center. In an inspired effort, TRAVIS DIENER put up 21 points in 37 minutes as his play accounted for DWYANE WADE's worst shooting night of his career (3-17 FGs) in the 68-64 survival. On Sunday, the ACC's Demon Deacons of Wake Forest came to Milwaukee in the Eagles' final non-conference game of the regular season. With the ABC-TV lights shining, it was ROBERT JACKSON, surprisingly, who took over the game with team highs 19 points and 11 rebounds as Marquette took out the nationally ranked Deacons 68-61. This week, Marquette will travel to Chicago to take on DePaul on Wednesday, and return home to defend their 28-game winning streak at Al McGuire Court on Saturday against Louisville.
SAINT LOUIS (8-12, 2-7): On Wednesday, Saint Louis looked to win their first road game of the season at Marquette, where the last 26 visitors have fallen. Up by as much as 10 points in the first half, the Billikens got into serious foul trouble in the second half and dropped 68-64. On Saturday, SLU went to Tampa to take on the Bulls of South Florida. MARQUE PERRY, who suffered with a bruised thigh during the game, did manage to score 13 points, but the Bills fell again on the road, 71-64. This week, Saint Louis will host American Division leader Louisville on Wednesday and East Carolina on Saturday.
ALABAMA-BIRMINGHAM (12-7, 4-4): The Blazers took a trip to Southern Miss on Tuesday in what turned out to be one of the week's best games. Tied after regulation, the two teams traded baskets in the overtime period, forcing a second overtime where the Eagles hit a last second shot after UAB had missed two free throws to win 82-80. MORRIS FINLEY led all scorers with 27 points. On Saturday, UAB hosted the Green Wave of Tulane. DEMARIO EVANS scored 12 points and pulled down a career-high 9 rebounds, but Tulane proved to be too much in a 71-66 loss. This week, the Blazers host South Florida on Wednesday and will travel to Memphis on Saturday. Both are key games to stay in contention for the divisional crown.
HOUSTON (6-13, 4-4): On Tuesday, the Cougars hosted Tulane in front of 3,500 fans in the Lewis Arena. JARRETT SIDNEY led UH with a career-high 11 points, but Houston fell to the Green Wave, 65-58. On Saturday evening, the Cougars honored the 20th anniversary of Phi Slamma Jamma and their final four team as they hosted Louisville in front of a season-high crowd of 7,869. Unfortunately for the Cougars, LOUIS TRUSCOTT was held to only 13 points and 5 rebounds while being plagued with fouls in an 81-55 loss. This week, Houston travels to Charlotte on Wednesday and to South Florida on Saturday.
MEMPHIS (14-5, 5-3): On Tuesday, Memphis hosted East Carolina, looking to propel past .500 in the conference standings. RODNEY CARNEY scored a career-high 22 points as Memphis used a fairly balanced attack to win easily, 73-49. On Saturday, the Tigers traveled to Fort Worth to take on the Horned Frogs of TCU. JOHN GRICE led the six Memphis players in double figures with 20 points as the Tigers took care of business with an 84-69 win. This week, Memphis travels to Tulane on Thursday night and returns home on Saturday for a game against Alabama-Birmingham.
SOUTH FLORIDA (12-8, 5-4): On Tuesday, the Bulls hosted the Horned Frogs of TCU. REGGIE KOHN had a season-high 21 points and USF came back from trailing at the half to win 71-67. On Saturday, the Billikens of Saint Louis were the opponent in the Sun Dome in Tampa. Kohn had 7 assists and 4 steals to go with his 12 points to lead the Bulls to another victory, 71-64. This week, the Billikens travel to Birmingham on Wednesday for a game against UAB and return home Saturday to face Houston.
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI (10-10, 3-6): On Tuesday, the Golden Eagles hosted UAB at the Green Coliseum. JASPER JOHNSON hit a 15-foot jumper from the baseline as time expired in the second overtime period to give USM the 82-80 win. GREG JOHNSON also tallied 31 points to lead the Eagles in scoring. On Saturday, Southern Miss flew into Greenville, NC for a game with East Carolina. Leading throughout most of the game, the Eagles went on a 6-minute scoring drought late in the second half and lost 60-57. This week, Southern Miss will go to Fort Worth on Wednesday to face TCU and return home on Saturday for a game with DePaul.
TEXAS CHRISTIAN (7-14, 1-8): On Wednesday, the Horned Frogs made their mid-winter trek to Tampa to face South Florida. With 4 players scoring in double figures, led by BINGO MERRIEX's 16, the Frogs lost their halftime lead early in the second half and ended up losing 71-67. On Saturday, in a nationally televised game from the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, Memphis came to town. Keeping the game close throughout, Memphis pulled away with an 8-0 run with five minutes remaining to take the game, 84-69. This week, the Frogs host Southern Mississippi on Wednesday evening and will head off to New Orleans as they take on Tulane on Saturday.
TULANE (11-10, 4-4): The Green Wave
were on a tour of the American South this week. Starting off on Tuesday at
Houston, Tulane was helped with a spectacular effort by WATARI MARSH who scored
18 points and dished out 4 assists as the Wave won 65-58. On Saturday,
Birmingham was the pit stop, as the Green Wave took on the National Division
leaders in UAB. MARCUS KINZER led the way with 17 points as 5 Tulane players
scored in double figures in a rather convincing 71-66 decision. This week,
Tulane will stay at home as Memphis comes to town for a Thursday night showdown,
followed by a match-up with TCU on Saturday evening.
PATRICK CRUSH'S FIVE-STAR GAMES OF THE WEEK
FIVE STARS: Louisville (18-1, 8-0)
vs. Marquette (17-3, 8-1) (Saturday, 3:30 PM)
FOUR STARS: Alabama-Birmingham
(12-7, 4-4) vs. Memphis (14-5, 5-3) (Saturday, 8:00 PM)
THREE STARS: Memphis (14-5, 5-3)
vs. Tulane (11-10, 4-4) (Thursday, 9:00 PM)
TWO STARS: Cincinnati (14-6, 6-3)
vs. Charlotte (8-12, 3-5) (Saturday, 7:00 PM)
ONE STAR: DePaul (12-7, 4-4) vs.
Southern Mississippi (10-10, 3-6) (Saturday, 5:00 PM)