College basketball is just a few weeks away from March Madness. Houston is still leading the way, with Cincinnati and UCF not far behind as we take a look at how The American is stacking up.
Houston 71, USF 59
The Houston Cougars did a lot in their lone game this week. A 12-point win over USF locked up a first-round bye while moving up a spot in the AP Top 25. Sophomore guard DeJon Jarreau and senior Corey Davis Jr. combined for 32 points, leading the Cougars to their 11th-consecutive win. Houston jumped out to a 11-0 start and never looked back, shooting 8-of-21 from beyond the arc.
Houston (26-1, 13-1 The American) took a 34-26 lead into halftime before opening the second half with a 7-0 run. The Cougars assisted on 13 of their 25 scores and dominated the paint, out-scoring USF 30-14 in the teams 33rd-straight home win. It was a deadly combination for the Bulls (18-9, 7-7 The American) who shot just 7-of-25 in the first half and committed 15 turnovers in the game.
Houston looks to continue their dominance in their matchup with ECU on Wednesday while the Bulls (6th in The American) will look to bounce back when they host UCF the same day.
Cincinnati 60, UCF 55
The second-place Knights from UCF saw game action twice in the last week. Their most recent win came against the hometown Huskies, which you can read about here , after a narrow victory over UCF just three days earlier. The pair of wins boosted the Wildcats from unranked to the nation’s 23rd ranked team.
It was not the usual night for the conference's leading scorer, Jarron Cumberland. Averaging over 19 points a contest, Cumberland was held to just 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting. Senior guard Justin Jenifer had the heroic effort for the 23-4 Bearcats (12-2 The American). Scoring 12 points in front of a sellout crowd, no bucket was bigger than his made three-pointer with 24 seconds to go, putting Cincy up by five. Aubrey Dawkins shot over 50 percent, scoring 18 points including four, made three-pointers, but it proved not enough in the heated battle of conference rivals. B.J. Taylor added 12 points and three dimes for the Knights (206, 10-4 The American).
Next up, the Bearcats will make the trip to Southern Methodist for a Wednesday night matchup while third place UCF battles in-state rival USF the same night.
Temple 84, Tulsa 73
Shizz Alston Jr. dropped 24 points and Quiten Rose added 23 of his own in Temple’s (20-7, 10-4 The American) 11-point win over Tulsa. It was a revenge game of sorts for the fourth-place Owls after losing to the Golden Hurricanes just two weeks ago.
While the score does not scream “blowout,” Temple’s stat sheet may say otherwise. The Owls shot an astounding 51 percent from the floor, a major jump from their 30 percent shooting percentage in their last loss to Tulsa. Rose scored seven of the team’s first 12 points, giving the Owls an early advantage. Tulsa (16-12, 6-9 The American) would battle though, cutting the lead from 10 to just one thanks in part to some streaky Temple shooting. The Owls would jump ahead after a 12-2 run, stretching their lead to 17 points with under five minutes to play. Temple shot 59 percent from the floor in the second half.
Temple will have played their next matchup (Tues. @ Memphis), by the time you read this article. Tulsa, 8th in the conference, will have to wait until Thursday to host Tulane.
Kevin Arnold is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.