This season, we were treated to tons of excellent games. Which one was the best? Let's take a look at the candidates.
The Candidates (In no particular order)
1. UCF 115 - Marshall 121 (3 OT) (February 27, 2010)
This was one of those surreal C-USA battles. There were no real stakes in this contest. Marshall was trying to stay in the top four of the C-USA standings. It was raining three's, UCF nearly ran out of players, and in the end Marshall outlasted UCF in a game full of video-game stats.
The statistics were pure lunacy:
- 11 players in double digits
- 24 combined made three pointers
- 99 attempted free throws
- 7 players fouled out (6 for UCF); The Knights were down to 6 players in the last overtime; UCF committed 43 personal fouls to Marshall's 26
2. UTEP 80 - Marshall 76 (March 2, 2010)
This game really had it all. UTEP was playing to clinch the outright C-USA regular season championship. UTEP came in riding a 12 game winning streak. Marshall came in on a 7 game winning streak of their own. UTEP surged ahead on a dominating performance by Randy Culpepper in the first half.
Culpepper finished with 32 points. Marshall's Tyler Wilkerson and Hassan Whiteside both had dominating performances. The two combined for 40 points and 30 rebounds. Marshall erased a 10 point UTEP lead with just over eight minutes to play and claimed a four point lead of their own with four minutes to go. Then, Derrick Caracter took over. Caracter scored 10 of his 18 points in the games final five minutes. The stakes were high for both teams. Marshall's crowd desperately wanted to knock UTEP out of the rankings since they made their debut just two days earlier, and the game turned into a furious back and forth affair up until the closing seconds.
3. Houston 66 - Memphis 65 (March 11, 2010, C-USA Tournament Quarterfinals)
The stakes couldn't have been higher for Josh Pastner's club. Memphis needed to advance to the C-USA Title game to lock up an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. And, they would get a chance to show that the worst loss of their season, a blowout loss at Houston, was a fluke along the way. Houston had literally nothing to play for. They, at best, were a CIT team going into the conference tournament. Houston led most of the way, but Memphis crawled their way back into the game and looked like they might survive. Then, this happened.
To make things crazier, Memphis' Willie Kemp actually hit a shot before the game ended, but was called for a double dribble seconds before he got the shot off. The game set the tone for a C-USA Tournament filled with upsets. Later in the day, UAB would get roasted by Southern Miss. And, Houston would go on to stun #21 UTEP in the championship game. Memphis, went to the NIT.
Vote for These Other Rushies Too:
Don Haskins Award for Best League Coach
Worst C-USA Coaching Performance
Danny Ainge Award for Most Hated Rival Player