Around the American: Houston beats UCF, Wichita State loses out

Temple's Josh Brown, right, drives to the basket against Wichita State's Austin Reaves, left, during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018, in Philadelphia. Temple won 81-79 in overtime. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

While Cincinnati continues to romp the American Athletic Conference, we saw a couple of upsets that shook things up a bit. It seemed like every game was a close one this past week, which makes for an exciting edition of Around the American.

Two of the American’s best three teams played each other in Cincinnati on Wednesday night. The home team prevailed, as the Bearcats scratched and clawed their way out of an 18-point hole to defeat Houston 80-70. Jacob Evans scored 18 points for Cincinnati while getting key buckets to help the team rally after a slow start. Each member of Cincinnati’s fantastic four scored in double figures, while Gary Clark also added 10 rebounds and three blocks. Junior Corey Davis Jr. led the way for Houston with 18 points while shooting 5-7 from beyond the arc.

Houston then went on to beat UCF 69-65 on Saturday. Senior Rob Gray had 20 points and five assists while shooting 7-15 from the field. The Knights were led by B.J. Taylor, who had 15 points and four assists. A.J. Davis followed with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Next for Houston will be a home game against SMU on Thursday. UCF will play at Cincinnati on Tuesday.

Temple fans stormed the court after a miss from Wichita State’s Markis McDuffie as time expired on Thursday night, as the Owls took down the Shockers in overtime, 71-69. Center Shaquille Morris had game-highs in points and rebounds with 24 and nine, respectively. He also hit two three-pointers. Quinton Rose rose to the occasion for the Owls, scoring 19 points on 50 percent shooting in just 25 minutes. Landry Shamet continues to struggle for the Shockers. While a 12-point, seven-assist effort normally isn’t considered terrible, he also had six turnovers and shot three of nine from the field in 41 minutes of play. This isn’t the type of play that Wichita State can afford to have from their star point guard if they want to be taken seriously as a national championship contender. Their next game will be at Memphis on Tuesday. Temple will look to make it four wins in a row against East Carolina on Wednesday.

Speaking of East Carolina, the Pirates were dead last in all of Division I men’s basketball in three point shooting before Saturday. Then Shawn Williams happened. Williams hit six of East Carolina’s 11 threes in their overtime win over Memphis. Two of those threes came in overtime, and at length won the game for the Pirates. Williams had 30 points on 8-13 shooting, going 6-10 from downtown. Guard Isaac Fleming had a triple double for East Carolina with 11 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds. Jeremiah Martin led the way for the Tigers with 33 points on 50 percent shooting. Memphis looked to Martin for big buckets down the stretch but ultimately fell short to the suddenly sharpshooting Pirates.

Shake Milton sat out on Thursday night with a hand injury, and as a result, SMU lost to Tulsa 76-67. The Shake-less Mustangs were led by guards Ben Emelogu II and Jahmal McMurray who had 24 and 22 points, respectively. Emelogu found himself in foul trouble late in the same and ended up picking up his fourth and fifth fouls with less than a minute left to play. In what truly was a team effort for Tulsa, the Golden Hurricane saw five of their players score in double figures. Corey Henderson Jr led the way for Tulsa with 18 points. Junior Etou had 17 points and 15 rebounds. This Thursday, Tulsa will play at home against Tulane and SMU will play away against Houston.


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