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2021 CUSA Tournament: WKU, UAB Into Semifinal Round

(4W) UTSA 67 (1E) WKU 80

Charles Bassey vs UTSA. Courtesy Conference USA
Charles Bassey vs UTSA. Courtesy Conference USA

Jhivvan Jackson scored only 5 points on 2 of 12 shooting while Keaton Wallace scored 30. That they both did not go off in this one should tell you all you need to know about this game without looking at the final score. Charles Bassey and WKU dominated from start to finish in this one with a tiny little blip where UTSA went on a run to make the announcers talk in a high voice but nothing special. Bassey had 21 points including 17 in the second half to kick off the tournament for the Hilltoppers. This was pretty much never in doubt as WKU led for double-digits for the entire second half.

(6W) Rice 60 (2W) UAB 73

Michael Ertel against Rice. Courtesy of Conference USA
Michael Ertel against Rice. Courtesy of Conference USA

The Rice Owls were the Cinderella of the league tournament on the men’s side. (ODU women are the same on the women’s side) Time ran out in this one about the five minute mark of the second half. The color commentator predicted as much right about then “This is right when they should be getting tired” and lo, it came to pass. Rice ran out of gas and UAB had a 13-0 run to end the game led by Michael Ertel doing his Nick Van Exel impression 1. Rice’s Fielder and Olivari had good games but were clearly gassed by the final minutes, missing bunnies and turning the ball over. It was a good run for them that highlighted how good they were all season in spite of their record.

Meanwhile, UAB took care of business. The haters can point to the fact that if Rice were not completely gassed they probably could have pulled off a win, given how well they played. But that is why you play hard and win a good seed, so you can be rested and have gas in the tank.

UAB and WKU play tomorrow at 11am on CBS Sports Network.

  1. He’s the first lefty baller to come to mind.

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