DAY 2 QUARTERFINALS OF THE C-USA MEN’S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
WESTERN KENTUCKY UNIVERSITY vs. UNIVERSITY ALABAMA BIRMINGHAM
Third seeded Western Kentucky University routed sixth seeded University of Alabama Birmingham to advance to the semi-finals of the CUSA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Reversing a 28 point blowout to UAB a week ago, the Toppers prevailed Thursday night by 28 points. Nearly 10 minutes into the game UAB led 33-30, but the Toppers reeled off a series of highlight plays and pulled out to a halftime lead of 46-35.
Even seeming adversity played into the Hilltopper’s hands when big man Dwight Coleby picked up his third foul with six minutes to go in the first half. Going with a smaller lineup, the Hilltoppers extended their lead, consistently outrunning the larger but slower Blazers.
Following the old baseball managers definition of the perfect baseball game “score 10 runs in the first inning and pull slowly ahead”, the Toppers extended their lead throughout the second half to their final 28 point margin. Paced by a balanced scoring attack featuring five players with double-digit points, the Toppers led comfortably throughout the second half. The only question for most Western fans in the second half was whether big man JJ Johnson would reach 1000 rebounds for his career. That question is yet to be answered, as Johnson finished the game with 998 total career rebounds. Next up for the third-seeded Hilltopers is a clash with second-seeded Old Dominion today at 3 PM.
SOUTHERN MISSISSIPPI vs. MIDDLE TENNESSEE
In a shocking upset, Southern Mississippi sent odds-on conference favorite Middle Tennessee packing with an overtime defeat. Early signs of trouble for the Blue Raiders were apparent by halftime as the top-seeded squad led the ninth seeded Golden Eagles by only three at half. Picking up the pace and the defense, the Golden Eagles jumped to a 51-44 lead late in the game. The Blue Raiders regained some of their swagger late in regulation to tie the game and send it into overtime.
Not to be denied, the Golden Eagles rode a late three-pointer by Cortez Edwards, who scored 23 points for the Golden Eagles and defeated Middle Tennessee 71- 68 in overtime. Next up for Southern Mississippi is a game against the high scoring Marshall Thundering Herd in the CUSA semifinals on Thursday.
OLD DOMINION vs. LOUISIANA TECH
Second-seeded Old Dominion vanquished Louisiana Tech 62-58 in Thursday night’s quarterfinals of the CUSA Men’s Basketball Tournament. Old Dominion advanced to a semifinal showdown with third-seeded Western Kentucky University Friday afternoon. In a tight game, stalwart Trey Porter had a late dunk and Old Dominion eked out a close victory.
MARSHALL vs. UNIVERSITY TEXAS SAN ANTONIO
The fourth-seeded Marshall Thundering Herd pulled away from the fifth-seeded University of Texas San Antonio Road Runners 95-81 in a Conference USA quarterfinal game Thursday night. Jumping to an early lead, the Thundering Herd quashed a comeback by the Road Runners to win comfortably and advanced to the semifinals in a Friday afternoon game against the ninth seeded Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, who upset top-seeded Middle Tennessee Thursday afternoon.