Around the American: Things just got interesting

Houston guard Corey Davis Jr. (5) recovers the ball for a turnover after knocking it away from Cincinnati guard Jarron Cumberland (34) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 15, 2018, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Things just got a heck of a lot more interesting in the American Athletic Conference this week. The conference now has three ranked teams, and we saw not just one, but two monumental surprises at the top of the standings.

Down goes Cincy! Cincinnati’s 16-game win streak was broken Thursday night in Houston as the Cougars delivered the Bearcats their first loss in over two months by a score of 67-62. The then-unranked Cougars took a 52-50 lead with 3:32 left in the game after a Rob Gray 3-pointer and never looked back. Gray finished with 13 points and four assists. Corey Davis Jr. and Devin Davis shared not only last names, but also the title of “highest scorer,” each with 16 points. Davis Jr. also shot 4-5 from deep and swiped three steals, while D. Davis grabbed 10 rebounds. Jacob Evans led the Bearcats with 16 points and five rebounds while shooting 9-12 from the charity stripe. Houston has entered the graces of the AP Top 25, as they are now the No. 23 team in the country.

I’m going to say it one more time: Down goes Cincy! The Bearcats lost another close game this week, this time to Wichita State on Sunday by a score of 76-72. It’s official: Landry Shamet is back, folks. The sophomore guard had 19 points, five assists and four rebounds on 6-13 shooting. The Shockers shot a fantastic 52.9 percent from the floor as a team. Jarron Cumberland had 18 points for Cincinnati, making three of his 10 3-point attempts. Evans had 16 points and seven rebounds in the losing effort. The Shockers now stand at No. 13 in the AP Top 25. Their next game will be against Tulane on Wednesday. Cincinnati has fallen out of the top 10, moving down to No. 11. They will have a chance to end their little two-game skid on Thursday night versus UConn.

Houston and Wichita State managed to creep up towards Cincinnati in the standings, as they each stand at 21-5 (11-3 conference). Cincinnati now sits at 23-4 (12-2 conference).

Tulsa has extended their win streak to five straight with wins over UConn and USF. On Sunday versus the Bulls, sophomore Martins Igbanu led the way for the Golden Hurricane with an efficient 16 points and zero turnovers in 21 minutes on 7-9 shooting from the field. Four players scored in double digits for Tulsa. USF was led by freshman David Collins, who had 17 points and two steals. The Bulls have had a rough stretch of games, losing 14 of their last 15 games. They’ll have a chance to turn it around Saturday at home against Tulane, who just so happens to be the last team that the Bulls have beaten. Tulsa will look to make it six straight wins on Wednesday against UCF. Tulsa now stands at fourth in the American with a 16-10 (9-5 the American) record.

UCF didn’t give SMU an inch of space on Saturday, defeating the Mustangs 52-37. SMU shot a dismal 25.6 percent from the floor, making only 11 field goals the entire game. Their leading scorer was Ben Emelogu II with 12 points on 3-10 shooting. Nobody else on the team scored over seven. A.J. Davis had 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Knights while hitting four of his seven three point attempts. UCF now stands at fifth in the AAC with a 17-9 record (8-6 conference). SMU has been struggling mightily without star guard Shake Milton, as they’ve lost five straight. Their next game will be Wednesday against East Carolina.


Sean Janos is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sean.janos@uconn.edu.