Bill Haisten's Conference USA Insider
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
2/13/13 at 5:36 AM
Memphis: For having driven Memphis to road wins at SMU and Southern Miss, Tiger junior guard Geron Johnson was voted the Conference USA player of the week. At SMU, he totaled 19 points and seven rebounds. In an 89-76 triumph at Southern Miss - an outcome that extended Memphis' win streak to 14 while ending the Golden Eagles' 23-game home win streak - Johnson had a career-high total of 25 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and four steals.
UAB: A week ago, UAB was stuck in the "Falling" category of this notes package. Today, the Blazers remain six games behind C-USA leader Memphis, but their self-esteem has been restored. At Tulsa, UAB roared to a 24-point, first-half lead and finished with a 73-63 victory. The Blazers followed with a similar performance - racing to a 22-point cushion over Marshall and ultimately getting a 14-point win.
Houston: During the first half of a home game against Tulane, Houston shot 67 percent from the field. With 8:22 left to play, the Cougars had a 19-point lead (74-55). When time expired, the Green Wave had rallied for a stunning 88-85 triumph. "Terrible performance in the last eight minutes," Cougar coach James Dickey told the Houston Chronicle. Houston, 3-6 in league play, visits Tulsa on Saturday.
Considering the state of the injury-riddled Golden Hurricane - its morale dented by three consecutive defeats, two of which occurred at the Reynolds Center - was there really any reason to expect Tulsa's brilliant performance at UTEP? "We had some really good days of practice, and I thought our defensive level was getting close to where it had been (earlier in the C-USA schedule)," TU coach Danny Manning says. Tulsa won 74-70 at UTEP. In 40 game minutes, the Hurricane trailed for only three minutes and four seconds.
News and notes
Void in the middle: John Bohannon is a 6-foot-10 center for UTEP. He averages 10.8 points and 6.4 rebounds per game. He is the team leader in blocked shots, and he connects on 59 percent of his shots from the field.
During a 74-70 home loss to Tulsa, however, Bohannon was a non-factor. As a disciplinary measure, UTEP coach Tim Floyd decided before the game that 6-foot-6 guard McKenzie Moore would be held out of the starting lineup and that Bohannon would not play at all.
"They were late to film session today," Floyd told the El Paso Times following the Saturday night game at the Don Haskins Center. "And it's not the first time. It's too late in the season to be worrying about that stuff. I'm sick of it. I'm sick of it."
Without Bohannon to alter shots in the paint, Tulsa big men D'Andre Wright and Kauri Black were extremely efficient, combining for 38 points on 15-of-20 shooting from the field.
Getting his first extended playing time since sustaining a mid-December leg injury, Wright scored a season-high total of 25 points and collected eight rebounds, and on Monday he was voted the Conference USA freshman of the week.
"We made a star out of D'Andre Wright," Floyd told the Times. "We didn't know who he was before tonight."
When the Golden Hurricane beat UTEP 45-42 on Jan. 16 at the Reynolds Center, Wright was inactive because of the injury. In that game, Bohannon had 11 points, nine rebounds and two blocks.
1. Memphis: In a statement win at Southern Miss, Tigers shot 56 percent overall from the field and 14-of-18 at the foul line.
2. Southern Miss: A crowd of nearly 8,000 saw Golden Eagles' 23-game home win streak end with a 13-point setback against Memphis.
3. Central Florida: With 14 rebounds against East Carolina, Keith Clanton became UCF's career leader with a total of 948.
4. Tulsa: With victories at SMU, Houston and UTEP, TU is undefeated in league games played in the state of Texas.
5. UTEP: A second loss to Golden Hurricane resulted in a dramatic RPI drop for the Miners - from 74th to 95th.
6. East Carolina: In spite of Isaiah Sykes' second triple-double of the season (20 points, 16 rebounds, 11 assists), Pirates lost at UCF.
7. Tulane: With a dramatic comeback victory at Houston, Green Wave ended its road conference losing streak of 18 games.
8. UAB: After rolling to a 24-point lead and seven-point win at TU, Blazers lead by 22 over Marshall and wound up with 14-point victory.
9. Marshall: Since prevailing over Tulsa by 18 points on Jan. 9, Thundering Herd is 2-6 in Conference USA games.
10. Houston: The top six teams in the league allow no more than 67 points per conference game. Houston surrenders 78.1.
11. SMU: During 61-39 blowout of Rice, the Mustangs limited the Owls to 19.6 percent shooting from the field (10-of-51).
12. Rice: Against SMU, guards Max Guercy and Tamir Jackson attempted a combined total of 28 shots. They converted on four.
GAME OF THE WEEK
UCF at Memphis, 7 p.m. Wednesday, CBSSN-249
Yes, Memphis obliterated TU at the FedEx Forum. The Tigers bashed the Golden Hurricane 94-64 - TU's worst loss in seven years. But in three home dates before Tulsa visited, Memphis beat Harvard by only 10 points, Tulane by only 11 and Marshall by only one. With Keith Clanton and Isaiah Sykes, Central Florida appears to be a legitimate threat to Memphis' 14-game win streak.