Herd sits in the middle of C-USA

December 25, 2018 GMT

HUNTINGTON — Marshall’s Thundering Herd, the defending champion, is in the middle of the Conference USA pack with the men’s basketball non-conference season winding down.

A few teams including Marshall (New Year’s Eve at No. 4 Virginia) have games left to play before beginning conference action. The first C-USA games are Saturday when North Texas visits Rice and Southern Miss plays at Louisiana Tech.

Marshall (7-5) isn’t first or last, just right in the middle.

Surprising North Texas (12-1) has the best non-conference record followed by Louisiana Tech and Old Dominion, both 10-3.


Preseason favorite Western Kentucky is 6-6 and Middle Tennessee slumped to a 3-9 start.

Following is a rundown of how league teams have done.

North Texas (12-1)

SCHEDULE: C-USA games Saturday at Rice and Thursday Jan. 3, vs. Louisiana Tech.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Home record 7-0. Wins vs. Portland (78-73) and Hawaii (68-51) at the Rain-bow Classic, at Indiana State (80-69) and at New Mexico (74-65). Lost at Oklahoma (73-57.

Scoring 76.8 points per game, giving up 59.8. C-USA leader in field goal percentage (48.0) and 3-point field goal percentage (38.8). Rebounding margin plus-5.7.

Umoja Gibson (6-foot-1, Fr. G) scores 13.0 per game. Ryan Wooldridge (6-3, Jr., G) averages 12.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.5 assists. D.J. Draper (5-10, Jr., G) leads C-USA in 3-point field goal percentage (54.8). Zachary Simmons (6-10, So., F) collects 6.9 rebounds a game.


Old Dominion (10-3)

SCHEDULE: C-USA games Thursday, Jan. 3, vs. Marshall and

Saturday, Jan. 5, vs. Western Kentucky.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: On an eight-game win streak. Wins at Syracuse (68-62), VCU (62-52), James Madison (67-42), at Richmond (63-54). C-USA scoring defense leader allows 56.5 a game and holds opponents to 35.2 percent field goal shooting. Scoring 66.4 per game, field goal percentage 41.3. Rebounding margin plus-5.4.

Ahmad Caver (6-2, Sr., G) averages 18.0 points and 5.5 assists, plays 36.4 minutes a game. B.J. Stith (6-5, Sr., G) averages 17.5 and 8.5 rebounds. Aaron Carver (6-7, Jr., F) pulls down 6.0 rebounds.


Louisiana Tech (10-3)

SCHEDULE: C-USA opener Saturday vs. Southern Miss. Thursday, Jan. 3, at North Texas.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: December record 6-0. ... Won at Wichita State (71-58), lost at LSU (74-67). ... Average points 80.7, allowing 71.6. Field goal percentage 47.3 and making 35.1 percent on 3-pointers. Rebounding margin plus-4.6.


Daquan Bracey (5-11, Jr., G) averages 13.3 and 4.1 assists, Anthony Duruji (6-7, So., F) scores 12.5 and gets 5.9 rebounds. Amorie Archibald (6-3, So., F) scores 11.7 and Oliver Powell (6-8, 240, Jr., F) grabs 6.5 rebounds.


FIU (9-3)

SCHEDULE: Sunday at Ohio. C-USA games Thursday, Jan. 3, at Middle Tennessee and Saturday, Jan. 5, at UAB.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Scored 100 or more in six games. ... Lost at Arkansas (121-89). ... C-USA leader in scoring of fense (95.6), last in scoring defense (83.3). Shooting 47.1 percent overall. Minus-4.9 in rebounding margin. C-USA steals leader with 12.4 a game.

Brian Beard Jr., a 5-10 senior guard, leads the league in scoring (20.6), assists (6.6) and steals (3.4) per game. Other double figure scorers are 6-6 junior forward Devon Andrews (15.4), 6-6 senior guard Willy Nunez Jr. (12.7) and 6-5 junior guard Trejon Jacob (11.9).


Florida Atlantic (8-4)

SCHEDULE: Saturday at Illinois. C-USA games Thursday Jan. 3, at UAB and Saturday, Jan. 5 at Middle Tennessee.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Won at UCF (80-79), lost at Miami (75-55) and won a Florida Gulf Coast (85-68). ... Average scoring 75.2, allowing 69.2. Field goal percentage 42.1. Rebounding margin plus-5.7. Three-point field goals 9.1 a game.

Jailyn Ingram(6-7, Jr., F) averages 18.9 and 8.2 rebounds, free throw percentage 86.7 ... Anthony Adger (6-1, Sr., G) scores 13.8 a game, 3-point field goals 3.0 per game.


Southern Miss (8-4)

SCHEDULE: C-USA games Saturday at Louisiana Tech and Thursday, Jan. 3, at Rice.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Wins at SMU (74-64) and Troy (81-66). Losses at Wichita State (63-60) and at Kansas State (55-51).

Average scoring 74.1, average yield 61.6. Second in C-USA for field goal percentage defense (38.8). Last in C-USA for free throw percentage (61.4). Rebounding margin plus-1.4.

Cortez Edwards (6-2, Sr., G) averages 14.5 and 6.3 rebounds. Tyree Griffin (5-10, Sr., G) averages 13.3 and 6.5 assists. Leonard Harper-Baker (6-5, Jr., F) grabs 7.0 rebounds per game.


Marshall (7-5)

SCHEDULE: Monday at Virginia. C-USA games Thursday, Jan. 3, at Old Dominion and Saturday, Jan. 5, at Charlotte.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Wins against Hofstra (76-72), William & Mary (84-64) and at Akron (75-74). Home loss to Toledo (75-74 OT) and losses at Maryland(104-67), at Ohio (101-84), at Duquesne (93-82) and at Texas A&M (92-68).

Scoring 82.0 per game and allowing 80.2. Field goal shooting 44.7 percent, 3-point field goal shooting 34.5 percent and free throw shooting 66.1 percent. Making 9.8 3-point shots a game. Rebounding margin minus-7.3.

Jon Elmore (6-3, Sr., G) averages 19.6 points, 5.0 assists and 4.6 rebounds. C.J. Burks (6-4, Sr., G) scores 18.0 a game. Forward Jannson Williams (6-9, So.) averages 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots.


UAB (7-5)

SCHEDULE: Saturday vs. Arkansas-Monticello. C-USA games Thursday, Jan. 3. vs. Florida Atlantic and Saturday, Jan. 5, vs. FIU.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Lost to Florida State (81-63) and College of Charleston (74-51) in Orlando, Florida; at Memphis (94-76) and to Auburn (75-71. Home wins include New Orleans (75-68) and Alcorn State (76-49).

Averaging 70.4 points and allowing 67.6. Field goal shooting 45.6 percent. League-leading rebounding margin plus-7.1.

Zack Bryant (6-2, So., G) scores 13.2 per game and 6-3 junior guard Jalen Perry follows with 11.0. Lewis Sullivan (6-7, Sr., F) averages 10.6 points and 6.3 rebounds.


Western Kentucky (6-6)

SCHEDULE: Saturday at Wisconsin. C-USA games Thursday, Jan. 3, at Charlotte and Saturday, Jan. 5, at Old Dominion.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Wins against West Virginia (63-57), Arkansas (78-77) and St. Mary’s (71-68). Losses include Washington (73-55), UCF (78-62) and Belmont (84-70).

Producing 72.8 points per game while giving up 73.6. Shooting 45.2 percent overall and 34.8 percent on 3-pointers. Free throw shooting 72.7 percent. Rebounding margin plus-1.4.

Taveion Hollingsworth (6-2, So., G) averages 15.4 points. Jared Savage (6-5, Jr., G-F) scores 14.7 a game and is shooting 90.9 percent on free throws. Center Charles Bassey (6-11, 245, Fr.) averages 14.2 points, shoots 61.6 percent, leads C-USA with 9.3 rebounds and blocks 2.4 shots per game.


Rice (5-8)

SCHEDULE: Saturday vs. North Texas. C-USA game Thursday, Jan. 3, vs. Southern Miss.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Losses at Houston (79-68), at Penn (92-76), at BYU (105-78) and at Wichita State (90-61). Scoring 74.9 a game, giving up 79.5. Field goal percentage 44.9 and 3-point percentage 32.4. Last in C-USA for field goal percentage defense (46.0). Rebounding margin minus-0.8.

Top scorers are 6-3 freshman guard Chris Mullins (13.1), 6-2 junior guard Ako Adams (11.8) and 6-6 junior forward Robert Martin (11.5). Adams leads C-USA in free throw percentage (91.9). Jack Williams (6-8, Gr., F) grabs 7.3 rebounds per game. Quentin Millora-Brown (6-9, Fr., F) leads the league in field goal percentage (69.0).


UTSA (5-7)

SCHEDULE: Saturday vs. Southeastern Oklahoma State. C-USA games Thursday, Jan. 3, vs. UTEP and Saturday, Jan. 5, at UTEP.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Started the season 0-5 with losses to St. Edwards, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, UC Irvine and South Dakota State before a win against Florida Gulf Coast (76-65) at the Gulf Coast Classic.

Season scoring offense and defense are about even, 75.3 to 75.5. Field goal percentage 41.8 and 3-point percentage 31.9. Free throw shooting 74.1 percent. Rebounding margin minus-1.4.

Six-foot sophomore guard Jhivvan Jackson scores 19.7 a game. Keaton Wallace (6-3, So., G) averages 18.8 points. Jackson and Wallace are C-USA’s top 3-point field goal producers with 3.8 and 3.6 a game respectively. Byron Frohnen (6-6, Jr., F) averages 7.8 rebounds.


UTEP (5-6)

SCHEDULE: The Miners and UTSA Roadrunners begin their C-USA schedules with an unusual two-game set. UTEP visits UTSA on Thursday, Jan. 3, and two days later, Saturday, Jan. 5, the teams play again in El Paso, Texas.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Lost at New Mexico (84-78) and at Marquette (76-69). Split home games in the Sun Bowl Invitational with Norfolk State (L, 75-62) and Wyoming (W, 76-65).

One of the league’s weakest offensive teams averages 69.0 points, but is allowing just 69.3. Field goal percentage 44.7. Free throw percentage 61.4. Rebounding margin plus-2.8.

Evan Gilyard (5-10, So. G) averages 18.4 points and and 2.9 3-point field goals a game. Efe Odigie (6-9, 280 Fr.) averages 15.5 and 9.2 rebounds.


Charlotte 49ers (3-7)

SCHEDULE: Tuesday vs. Colorado, Diamond Head Classic, Honolulu. C-USA games Thursday Jan. 3, Western Kentucky and Saturday, Jan. 5, Marshall.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Lost its first two games at the Diamond Head Classic to TCU (82-57) and Rhode Island (75-61).Won at home against Oklahoma (66-64), lost at Davidson (76-56) and Wake Forest (80-56). ... Last in C-USA scoring offense (58.2), field goal percentage (403) and 3-point field goal percentage (28.1). Fourth in scoring defense (67.3). First in free throw percentage (77.9) Rebounding margin minus-0.4.

Jon Davis (6-3, Sr., G) averages 19.8 points in a league-high 37.6 minutes a game.


Middle Tennessee (3-9)

SCHEDULE: Sunday at Rhode Island. C-USA games Thursday, Jan. 3, FIU and Saturday, Jan. 5, Florida Atlantic.

HIGHLIGHTS/LOWLIGHTS: Lost last eight against Virginia, Butler, Stanford, Vanderbilt, Lipscomb, Murray State, Toledo and Ole Miss. ... Average score 66.4-76.2. Field goal shooting 41.3 percent, 3-point field goal shooting 28.6 percent. Rebounding margin plus-1.4. Average turnovers 18.3 a game.

Antonio Green (6-2, Jr., G) averages 18.3 points, free throw percentage 88.6, 3-point field goals made 2.8 a game. Karl Gamble (6-9, Sr., F) averages 6.7 rebounds