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C-USA Basketball Gameday Central & Open Thread

Here is a UTEP at Houston Preview (Courtesy of UTEP Athletics).


1:00 PM MST

Southern Miss. Golden Eagles at SMU (TW Texas) 

Tulsa Golden Hurricane at Tulane Green Wave (Cox)

5:00 PM MST

East Carolina Pirates at Marshall Thundering Herd

Memphis Tigers  at UAB Blazers (ESPN2)

Rice Owls at UCF (BHSN/CSS)

6:00 PM MST

UTEP at Houston (TWC El Paso)- We Will have a separate UTEP Game Thread

Here are the C-USA's Official Team Capsules for Today's Games.  

RICE (8-10, 0-4 C-USA)
Next Game: Jan. 22 at UCF - 6 p.m. CT
• Freshman David Chadwick led the Owls with 10 points, but Rice dropped a 66-43 decision to host UTEP on Jan. 15. Sophomore F Arsalan Kazemi grabbed 10 rebounds. Kazemi is the only C-USA player averaging a double-double (16.6 ppg and 11.2 rpg.). His 11 double-doubles this season leads C-USA and ties as the eighth-most nationally.
• Junior G Connor Frizzelle came off the bench to score a team-high 21 points, including a three-pointer with 18 seconds to play to send the game into overtime, but the Owls dropped an 81-78 decision to Southern Miss on Wednesday. Sophomore Tamir Jackson scored 19 points. 
• Kazemi finished with 14 points and a game-high 15 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season, but Rice dropped a 75-64 decision to Tulsa on Jan. 8. He also scored a career-high 28 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, but the Owls fell to Tulane, 85-81, on Jan. 5. 
• Six of Rice's losses this season have been by four points or less.

SMU (10-8, 1-3)
Next Game: Jan. 22 vs. Southern Miss - 2 p.m. CT (TW Texas)
• Senior F Papa Dia, the reigning C-USA Player of the Week, registered his 21st career double-double and eighth of the season with 16 points and 10 rebounds in a 67-53 loss at UAB on Wednesday. Junior G Rodney Clinkscales added 16 points for the Mustangs.
• Dia tallied 23 points, 11 rebounds and a career-high seven blocks in a 70-68 loss to Houston on Jan. 15. Junior F Robert Nyakundi added 22 points. It was the fifth time this season Dia and Nyakundi both scored 20+ points in the same game. Senior Collin Mangrum, in his first start, had 13 points, four boards and four assists.
• Dia tallied 22 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Mustangs to a 64-58 win over Memphis Jan. 12. Nyakundi and Mangrum scored 15 points each. It was the second year in a row the Mustangs beat Memphis at Moody. SMU was 9-of-16 from three-point range and the Mustang defense held the Tigers scoreless for more than 11 minutes. 
• SMU has won eight of its last 10 games at Moody Coliseum.
Shawn Williams, a 6-7, 225-lb. forward from Dallas, has enrolled at SMU. He transfers from Texas, where he played in seven of the Longhorns' first eight games in 2009-10 before being sidelined with an ankle injury. He will become eligible when grades are posted at the end of the Fall 2011 semester and have three years of eligibility. He was ranked the No. 46 prospect nationally and No. 2 in the state coming out of high school.

Next Game: Jan. 22 at SMU - 2 p.m. CT 
• Despite 21 points from senior Gary Flowers, C-USA's leading scorer, the Golden Eagles fell just short to Memphis on a last-second shot, 76-75, Wednesday. Classmate R.L. Horton added 18 points, seven rebounds and three assists for Southern Miss.
• Southern Miss used an incredible second-half performance to post an 86-69 victory over UCF on Jan. 15. The Golden Eagles used a 21-2 run midway through the second half and shot 62.1 percent to outscore UCF, 50-34, after the break. 
• Four Southern Miss players finished with double-digits in scoring, led by Horton with 18 points, six rebounds and five assists. Freshman D.J. Newbill finished with 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field and a team-best nine rebounds. Flowers totaled 16 points and eight boards, while junior G Maurice Bolden came off the bench to also score 16. The first half featured eight ties and nine lead changes.

TULANE (12-5, 2-2)
Next Game: Jan. 22 vs. Tulsa - 2 p.m. CT (Cox)
• Sophomore G Jordan Callahan led Tulane with a career-high-tying 22 points, scoring 16 in the second half, but the Green Wave dropped a 76-67 decision at East Carolina Saturday. Senior F David Booker had 19 and sophomore G/F Kendall Timmons scored 10 points to reach double figures for the 15th consecutive game. 
• Tulane had its six-game win streak snapped and suffered its first loss at Fogelman Arena this season, as UTEP stopped the Green Wave, 69-58, on Jan. 12. Timmons paced the Green Wave with 20 points and eight rebounds, while Callahan added 12 points.
• Tulane won its sixth game in a row with a 79-70 win over SMU on Jan. 8. Timmons scored a game-high 26 points. Senior G Kris Richard tossed in 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds.
• As a team, Tulane hit 20-of-21 free throws against SMU for the fifth-best performance in school history. 

TULSA (9-9, 2-2 C-USA)
Next Game: Jan. 22 at Tulane - 2 p.m. CT (Cox)
• Senior G Justin Hurtt scored a game-high 20 points, but TU dropped a 64-57 decision to host Houston on Wednesday night. Junior F Steven Idlet registered his fourth double-double of the season, and seventh of his career, with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore G/F Bryson Pope added 13 points.
• Hurtt tossed in 14 of his 17 points in the second half as the Golden Hurricane handed UAB its first conference loss by a score of 78-62 on Jan. 15. As a team, TU shot a season-best 53.8 percent from the field. Idlet added 16 points and five rebounds, while sophomore G Scottie Haralson chipped in 14 points. 
• Redshirt freshman C Kodi Maduka also contributed career-highs of nine points and seven rebounds in just 15 minutes off the bench.
• Hurtt also scored a team-high 17 points in the Golden Hurricane's 69-59 road loss to Arizona State on Jan. 12. Idlet and Haralson each added 11 points. Pope grabbed a career-high 11 rebounds.

UAB (13-4, 3-1 C-USA)
Next Game: Jan. 22 vs. Memphis - 6 p.m. CT (ESPN2)
• Senior G Jamarr Sanders scored 22 points, with four three-pointers, to lead UAB to a 67-53 victory over SMU on Wednesday. With the win, the Blazers improved their record at Bartow Arena to a perfect 9-0. 
• Saturday's game between UAB and Memphis is the second annual Bartow Classic (see page 4 of notebook). Both teams are tied for first place in the C-USA standings.
• Junior F Cameron Moore added a double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Senior PG Aaron Johnson chipped in 14 points and sophomore F Ovie Soko added 12 points. The Blazers shot 54.5 percent from the field in the second half (12-of-22). 
• Sanders tossed in 26 points to lead the Blazers to a 66-59 win at East Carolina on Monday night. Moore contributed 16 points and six rebounds in the victory.
• Sanders also scored a game-high 22 points in the Blazers' 78-62 loss at Tulsa on Saturday. Freshman G Preston Purifoy came off the bench to score 13 points, while Moore added 11 points.

UCF (14-3, 1-3 C-USA)
Next Game: Jan. 19 vs. East Carolina - 7 p.m. ET
• The Knights suffered their first home loss of the season (10-1) at UCF Arena, dropping a 74-61 decision to East Carolina Wednesday. Junior G Isaac Sosa led the Knights with 16 points. Sophomore F Keith Clanton added 12 points and 10 boards for his fourth double-double of the season, seventh of his career. Clanton also had six blocked shots. Sophomore G Marcus Jordan scored 11 points.
• Wednesday's game was played in front of 8,044 fans, the fifth-largest crowd in school history. 
• UCF defeated Marshall, 65-58, in the conference opener on Jan. 5. Jordan led the Knights with 26 points, 18 in the second half, and six rebounds. Clanton added 14 points and eight boards, while Sosa chipped in with 13 points off the bench with three triples. 
• The Knights started this year with 14-straight victories to record the best start since UCF moved to the Division I ranks in 1984.

UTEP (15-4, 3-1 C-USA)
Miner Rush
Next Game: Jan. 22 at Houston - 6 p.m. MT
• Senior PG Julyan Stone broke the Conference USA career assists record in the Miners' 66-43 win over Rice Saturday night. Stone was credited with five assists and now has 633 helpers for his career. He also added four points and 10 rebounds. 
• Senior Jeremy Williams scored a team-high 14 points, while classmates Randy Culpepper and Christian Polk chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively. It was the Miners' 12th-straight home victory.
• The Miners enter Saturday's game at Houston in a four-way tie for first place in C-USA with the Cougars, Memphis and UAB.
• Polk and Culpepper sent the Jan. 8 game at UAB into the first and second overtimes, respectively, with dramatic three-pointers at the buzzer before the Blazers won 100-97 in triple OT. Culpepper scored a game-high 34 points to become only the third player in C-USA history to reach the 2,000-career point plateau.
• Senior C Claude Britten scored all 14 of his points against UAB in the overtime periods.