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C-USA Tournament roundup

Southern Miss' late tip-in sinks Cincinnati in first round

Posted: Wednesday March 12, 2003 3:42 PM
Updated: Thursday March 13, 2003 1:28 AM

 
Wednesday's action
Mario Myles
Southern Mississippi's Mario Myles celebrates as the final horn sounds. AP

Other Games
South Florida 76, DePaul 74
Tulane 74, Houston 52
UAB 85, Charlotte 61

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins wasn't ready to assess his team's NCAA tournament chances late Wednesday night.

The shock of his team's 63-61 loss to Southern Mississippi was still too fresh in his mind.

"I'm not on the committee, and I have never sat in the room," Huggins said. "I simply have no idea."

Huggins was equally perplexed at how his team lost to the Golden Eagles, who snapped a nine-game losing streak to the Bearcats dating to 1990.

Jasper Johnson's weak-side tip-in of Greg Johnson's miss gave the Eagles a 63-61 lead with 3.8 seconds left.

Huggins called a timeout to set up a play, but he said the Bearcats (17-11) didn't run it. Chadd Moore's 18-footer at the buzzer clanged off the rim.

"It's frustrating when you call a set play and the guys don't come out and execute," Huggins said. "We were supposed to attack the basket from half-court. Why we settled for a jump shot, I have no idea."

The small contingent of Southern Miss fans showered the Freedom Hall court with beaded necklaces as the defeated Bearcats left the floor.

"When we needed to come up with plays, we had guys step up and make plays," Southern Mississippi coach James Green said.

Greg Johnson scored 21 points and Charles Gaines added 15 for the Golden Eagles (13-15), who were the third No. 12 seed to win a tournament game in the league's seven-year history.

"They gave us some tough shots," Green said, "but we never put our heads down and just continued to play."

Greg Johnson sank two free throws with 54.2 seconds left to give the Eagles a 61-59 lead, but Leonard Stokes answered with a baseline turnaround with 40.6 seconds to go.

Out of a timeout, the Eagles ran a set play for Jasper Johnson, who missed a 3-pointer from the wing. Dante Stiggers ran down the loose ball in the corner and passed to Greg Johnson, who missed a one-handed shot from underneath the basket.

Jasper Johnson sneaked in from the weak side and tipped the ball in with his left hand.

"It was a big play by Dante Stiggers to get that rebound and keep the offensive possession alive," said Jasper Johnson, who had 15 points.

Jason Maxiell had 17 points and 12 rebounds for fifth-seeded Cincinnati (17-11), which had won six of its seven previous Conference USA tournament openers.

"We're not the most talented bunch," Huggins said. "We have to outwork people, and we haven't done that on a consistent basis."

The Eagles will play fourth-seeded Saint Louis (15-12) in Thursday's quarterfinals.

South Florida 76, DePaul 74

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Reggie Kohn sank seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points to lead South Florida to a 76-74 win over DePaul on Wednesday in the Conference USA tournament opener.

Jimmy Baxter added 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds and Will McDonald had 14 points for South Florida (15-13), which won for only the third time in eight games. Kohn was one 3-pointer shy of the tournament record for game set by Charlotte's Diego Guevara in 2000.

The Bulls advance to play second-seeded and 16th-ranked Memphis (22-5) in Thursday's quarterfinals.

Sam Hoskin scored 19 points and Andre Brown had 15 points and 13 rebounds, his fifth double-double of the season for DePaul (16-12), which lost for the fourth time in six games.

Kohn, South Florida's all-time leader in 3-point field goals, sank his first four attempts during an opening 23-7 run by the Bulls.

The Blue Demons struggled early with South Florida's zone defense, but found their range midway through the opening half. Drake Diener sank two 3-pointers as DePaul mounted its own 23-7 run to tie the game at 30-30.

Kohn had six 3-pointers in the first half, as South Florida built a 43-27 halftime lead.

DePaul forced three South Florida turnovers early in the second half and took a 49-47 lead. The Blue Demons built a six-point lead but Terrence Leather's free throw with 4:53 left finished an 11-4 Bulls' run and put South Florida up 64-63.

The lead changed hands twice before McDonald's baseline jumper gave the Bulls a 68-65 lead. South Florida didn't trail again.

The Bulls also beat DePaul in the first round of last year's Conference USA tournament, winning 63-59.

Tulane 74, Houston 52

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Brandon Spann scored 16 points and Ivan Pjevcevic scored 12 on a career-high four 3-pointers as Tulane beat Houston 74-52 in the first round of the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday.

The Green Wave (16-14) won for the third time in six games and will play third-seeded and 20th-ranked Louisville (21-6) in Thursday's quarterfinals.

Louis Truscott, Conference USA's leading rebounder, had 18 points and 10 rebounds -- his 16th double-double of the season -- for Houston (8-20), which lost for the ninth time in its last 11 games.

Tulane started the game with a 15-4 run by taking advantage of Houston's sloppy offensive execution. The Cougars, last in Conference USA in turnover margin (-6.56), committed four turnovers in the first seven minutes.

Tulane started 8-of-12 from the field and led 22-6 by the midpoint of the first half.

The Cougars shot 53 percent (10-of-19) in the first half, but still trailed 36-22 at halftime.

Spann went 3-for-4 from 3-point range in the first half and had 11 points. The Green Wave went 14-of-26 (54 percent), including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, in the first half against C-USA's best field-goal percentage defense.

Houston lost in the first round of the league tournament for the fifth time in seven seasons. The Cougars reached the semifinals last season.

Tulane advanced to the quarterfinal round for the third time in four years.

UAB 85, Charlotte 61

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Eric Bush scored 21 points and Morris Finley added 17 as UAB dominated the second half of an 85-61 victory over Charlotte in the first round of the Conference USA tournament Wednesday night.

Sidney Ball added 11 points and a career-high 11 rebounds and Gabe Kennedy scored 14 for the Blazers (17-11), who will play top-seeded and eighth-ranked Marquette (23-4) in Thursday's quarterfinals.

Curtis Nash scored 14 for Charlotte (13-16), which had won six straight tournament openers since a first-round loss to DePaul in 1996.

The 49ers led by as many as six in a see-saw first half. Charlotte had a 22-13 first-half rebounding edge but trailed by five at halftime because of 12 turnovers.

Bush and Finley scored 31 of UAB's 39 first-half points.

The 49ers still trailed 45-39 when Kennedy scored twice inside to start a decisive 25-2 run.

Bush sank a 3-pointer with 14:36 left to push UAB's lead to 52-39. Charlotte's Bobby Lutz earned a technical foul 30 seconds later but that only fueled the Blazers' momentum.

The 49ers missed their next five shots and committed five turnovers as UAB's half-court defense took control.

The Blazers hit nine straight shots, the final three on breakaway layups generated from Charlotte mistakes.

The 49ers didn't threaten again, dropping their third straight game and finishing with a losing record for the first time since 1995-96. They outrebounded UAB 45-32 but shot 34 percent (20-of-59) and finished with 21 turnovers.

Charlotte's collapse was reminiscent of its 100-59 loss to Louisville at Freedom Hall last Saturday, its worst loss in Lutz's five seasons. The 49ers shot 36 percent with 17 turnovers in that game.

 
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