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2016 Conference USA Tournament Quarterfinals Recap


Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

(8) WKU 88 (1) UAB 77

Five Hilltoppers scored in double figures, and the Tops crushed UAB on the glass 50-28 to dispatch the home standing favorites, and number one seed UAB Blazers 88-77 in opening quarterfinal matchup of the day.

Nigel Snipes was again unconscious from deep, knocking down four 3-pointers for the second straight day, and scored 18 points. Frederick Edmond added 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting as WKU only trailed for 22 seconds, and shocked the C-USA world.

It looked like this game was going to be a classic in the first ten minutes, but WKU pulled ahead by double-digits in the final three minutes of the first half, and never looked back.

UAB got behind the 8-ball by shooting just 39.7 percent from the field in the opening half, and went 7-of-32 from behind the 3-point line for the game.

WKU had an answer for every UAB attempt at a spurt, scoring on 59.5 of their possessions, and cashed in on 17 second chance points.

Justin Johnson had another monster performance with 14 points, and 15 rebounds.  Aaron Cosby went 7-of-8 from the free throw line and finished with 12 points.  Ben Lawson added 10 points off the bench for WKU who shot 51.8 percent from the field.

The Tops shot 60.9 percent in the second half, despite turning the ball over 14 times compared to just five turnovers for UAB in the ball game.

WKU has now won four in a row, and six out of their last seven, and will square off with Old Dominion in the semifinal round.

(5) Old Dominion 68 (4) LA Tech 52

It was a typical Old Dominion style beat down.

The Monarchs held LA Tech to under 40 percent shooting in the game, controlled the boards 40-33 with 16 second chance points, and kept LA Tech to under 50 points until the closing seconds in garbage time.

Trey Freeman scored 25 points for the second straight game, helping ODU shoot 43.6 percent from the field in the game, and 52 percent in the final half.   After taking only two 3-point attempts in the yesterday's second round win, the Monarchs drained seven long balls against LA Tech.

Freeman also helped turn a 29-27 ODU lead with 1:25 left until halftime, into a 31-12 run from the 1:25 mark of the first half, until ODU opened up a 59-39 lead with 5:11 left in the second half.

LA Tech started 3-of-19 from the field in the second half as it was a tough day for C-USA Player of the Year Alex Hamilton who went 2-of-11 from the field in the second half and finished with a modest 12 points on 4-of-13 shooting.

Aaron Bacote chipped in 15 points, and five rebounds for ODU, Denzell Taylor again came close to recording a double-double with eight points and 10 rebounds.

Thursday's semifinal will match two of the most physical teams in the conference in ODU, and WKU in the first C-USA Semifinal matchup on Friday.

(2) Middle Tennessee 79 (7) Charlotte 61

Middle Tennessee rode some stellar second half defense, and a big run to dump Charlotte 79-61 in the first night session of the quarterfinal matchups.

Charlotte defended well themselves early on to build a 36-27 lead with 1:12 left until halftime, but Middle went on a 27-4 run in a ten minute span to grab a 54-40 lead with 10:25 to go in the second half.

Reggie Upshaw led the way with 27 points, and nine rebounds, Perrin Buford was 10-of-12 from the field adding 22 points.  Giddy Potts looked sharp after missing the prior four games with injury to add 18 points, and nine rebounds.

The Blue Raiders shot 68 percent from the field in the second half, and forced 16 turnovers in the game all while contesting almost every shot to hold Charlotte to just 34.9 percent shooting from the floor.

Middle took control in the second half, and wore down the young 49ers with changing defenses, and won the rebounding battle 40-32.

Charlotte scored 14 points in the paint in the first half, but Middle clamped down and forced the 49ers in to a 7-of-23 mark from downtown in the game.

Braxton Ogbueze finished with 21 points for the 49ers, but Charlotte shot just 28.1 percent from the field in the second half as Middle imposed their will on both ends.

Contrasting styles meet in Friday's semifinal with Middle Tennessee and Marshall.

(3) Marshall 87 (6) UTEP 85