Around the American: Conference out of NCAA tourney after first weekend

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Nevada guard Josh Hall (33) sets up his game winning shot as Cincinnati forward Gary Clark (11) and Cincinnati guard Jacob Evans (1), defend, during the second half of a second-round game in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, March 18, 2018. Nevada defeated Cincinnati 75-73. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The men’s college basketball season came to an end for the American Athletic Conference on Sunday night. Following a 68-53 victory over Georgia State in the first round on Friday, the South region two-seed Cincinnati Bearcats were upset by seventh-seeded Nevada, 75-73.

Nevada overcame a 22 point deficit with 11 minutes left in the game, scoring 32 points in that time against the nation’s second-ranked defense. Much of the credit is due to Nevada forward Cody Martin, who had 25 points, six rebounds and seven assists with no turnovers in 40 minutes of play. Sophomore Josh Hall, who scored the game winning basket with 9.1 seconds left off of an offensive rebound, had 14 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes off of the bench.

The AAC champions were led by Jacob Evans, who had 19 points and seven rebounds on 7-19 shooting. Jarron Cumberland contributed 17 points in 27 minutes. AAC Player of the Year Gary Clark had 11 points and 10 rebounds on 5-6 shooting. Nevada only turned the ball over twice all game, compared to Cincinnati’s seven.

The fourth seed in the East region, Wichita State, were shocked by Marshall in the first round on Thursday night. 13-seeded Marshall was led by junior Jon Elmore, who had 27 points on 6-13 shooting in 40 minutes of play. Forward Ajdin Penava had 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks before fouling out in 27 minutes for the Thundering Herd.

Wichita State was led by senior Conner Frankamp, who scored a career-high 27 points on 10-17 shooting, making six shots from deep. Shockers’ star guard Landry Shamet had 11 points and eight assists on 3-13 shooting and four turnovers. A big reason why they were able to pull off this upset was because Marshall won the turnover battle 15-9. This is the first time that Gregg Marshall’s Shockers haven’t made it to the second round of the tournament in six seasons.

Houston lost in the second round thanks to a crushing three pointer by Michigan’s Jordan Poole as the buzzer sounded on Saturday night. Houston, who was the sixth seed in this three- versus-six matchup, had a chance to go up by three points with 3.6 seconds left. Devin Davis missed two consecutive free throws before Poole hit his game winner on the other end. Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman and Mortiz Wagner each had 12 points for Michigan.

Rob Gray, who scored 39 points in the Cougars first round victory over San Diego State, had 23 points and 10 rebounds against Michigan. Houston has relied heavily on their senior point guard for offense all season, but it wasn’t enough to overcome this strong Michigan squad.


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

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