The incoming C-USA schools had the matinees yesterday.
First, as hard as it is to say when the final margin of victory is 18, the 63-45 drubbing of SMU at Memphis was actually closer than it looked. Memphis looked to be taking out its frustration at losing for the first time to UCF on SMU in the first half. The Tigers then went on an 8-minute cold spell through halftime, at one point surrendering a 9-point lead. After a brief fight for the lead, the Mustangs went cold, and Memphis ran away with it from there.
Speaking of UCF, they followed up their first ever win over Memphis with a 48-41 win at UAB. It was their first road win over the Blazers; they were 0-4 at UAB previously. The Knights ran out to a 14-0 lead to start, hitting 7 of their first 9 shots. But in a case of playing down to your opponent (UAB's one of the worst-shooting teams in D-I), their shooting went soft in the second half, allowing the Blazers to take the lead mid-way through. UCF was able to find traction again and beat the Blazers back down at the end.
Bookending the C-USA day, Houston held off a late surge to beat East Carolina, 82-76. (2,954) The Cougars held a comfortable lead for most of the game, as high as 17 in the second half. The Pirates were able to close to within 1 late, but they couldn't complete the comeback. Alandise Harris and Jonathon Simmons each had 19 points. TaShawn Thomas had 17 points and 12 rebounds.
The teams will all be on the road on Wednesday. UCF (15-4, 5-1) will be at Tulsa (10-9, 3-2), and SMU (10-9, 2-3) will be at Tulane (12-5, 0-4).