MBB: Matchups set for AAC conference tournament

The Huskies beat USF Sunday afternoon in Gampel Pavilion. The game was close with a halftime score of 28-27 UConn and a final win for UConn with a score of 60-58. Their next game is Thursday March 7 in Gampel. (Photo by Nicholas Hampton/The Daily Campus)

With the college basketball regular season in the books, Thursday will mark the beginning of the American Athletic Conference (AAC) tournament, which will be played in Memphis, Tenn. This past weekend featured the final regular season matchups, with all 12 teams playing.

The top two teams in the American, No. 12 Houston and No. 19 Cincinnati faced off in a conference heavyweight fight Sunday afternoon. The game was tight until Houston was able to pull away in the second half, taking the 85-69 victory on the road. This marked Houston’s first win in Cincinnati against the Bearcats in 17 games.

Corey Davis Jr. led the way for Houston, piling up 31 points in 38 minutes. He also recorded six assists with no turnovers and drained three 3-pointers. Nate Hinton played efficiently off the bench, scoring 16 points and 12 rebounds in just 19 minutes of play. He went a perfect 4-4 from deep. Houston will play the winner of the first round matchup between UConn and USF in the conference tournament. The second round of games will be played Friday.

Cincinnati had a tough time hitting shots, going a dismal 29-50 from the field and 6-21 from deep. It has been a tough week for Cincinnati, who dropped their previous matchup against UCF Thursday night. Despite dropping these two games, the Bearcats remain as the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament. They will play the winner of the SMU versus Tulsa matchup.

A Saturday evening matchup between Temple and No. 25 UCF in Philadelphia featured the Owls giving their home fans a 67-62 upset over the Golden Knights, taking their spot as the No. 3 seed in the tourney. UCF held onto the the No. 4 seed, and therefore the first round bye.

Temple got strong contributions from many players on the roster, with four players scoring in double figures. Leading the way was Shizz Alston Jr. with 21 points on 7-16 shooting while adding six assists. The Owls will play the winner of the ECU and Wichita State matchup.

Despite a 36-point outburst by Aubrey Dawkins, the rest of the Golden Knights failed to eclipse the eight-point mark. Dawkins also had 11 rebounds and shot 6-11 from behind the arc. Tacko Fall started, but only played 19 minutes, as he had four fouls for much of the game. UCF will play the winner of Tulane versus Memphis for round two.

Saturday’s other two games were even closer than the Temple game, with Wichita State and Memphis claiming three-point victories over Tulane and Tulsa, respectively.

Wichita State beat Tulane 82-79 thanks to a game-winner buzzer beater from the corner by freshman Dexter Dennis. Dennis got the shot up before the horn from the corner to secure the win, and the No. 6 seed in the tournament, for the Shockers. It was the only shot that Dennis hit the entire night.

Samaj Haynes-Jones and Markis McDuffie led the way for Wichita State, scoring 15 and 14 points in 34 and 33 minutes, respectively. Though the Shockers shot just 6-24 from deep, they hit the big shot when it counted. They will play ECU at 10 p.m. Thursday night in round one of the AAC tournament.

With this loss, Tulane has gone 0-18 in conference play, giving them the No. 12 spot in the conference tournament. Caleb Daniels did all he could, scoring 36 points and seven rebounds. Samir Sehic added 20 points and eight rebounds to the losing effort. Tulane will play No. 5 Memphis Thursday at 3 p.m.

Memphis edged out their three-point win over Tulsa 66-63. Jeremiah Martin led the team in scoring with 20 points and also contributed six rebounds and six assists. Tyler Harris scored 16 off of the bench.

Tulsa couldn’t buy a bucket all game, shooting 21-62 from the field. Locked in to the No. 7 spot, they will play their first round matchup against No. 10 SMU Thursday at 8 p.m.

UConn beat ECU for their first road win of the season, 82-73. Now with the No. 9 seed, UConn will kick the tournament off by playing No. 8 USF at 1 p.m. Thursday.


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