March 4, 2010
HUNTINGTON, W.Va.--Marshall University (22-8, 10-5 C-USA) travels to SMU (14-15, 7-8 C-USA) Mar. 6 in Dallas, Texas. Marshall and SMU are playing for the fifth time with the Thundering Herd holding a 4-0 series advantage. All four games have been played since MU joined Conference USA in 2005.
Marshall can clinch the No. 4 seed and a first round by in the Conference USA Tournament with a victory over SMU and a Tulsa loss to Memphis.
The Mustangs are 14-15 after dropping a 58-55 decison at Tulsa Wednesday night. Derek Williams is SMU's leading scorer as he is averaging 16.9 points per game. Williams is shooting 44% from the field (160-of-364) and 75.8% (135-of-178) from the free throw line. Papa Dia is averaging 12.3 ppg and is the team's leading rebounder (8.6). Mouhammad Faye is the final Mustang scoring in double figures (10.8).
No. 21/24 UTEP defeated Marshall 80-76 Mar. 2 in the Henderson Center. Randy Culpepper and Derrick Caracter combined for 50 points to lead the Miners. Culpepper scored 32 while Caracter posted 10-of the last 16 UTEP points on his way to 18 on the night. Marshall's Tyler Wilkerson (Sr., Lexington, Ky.) scored 22 points and grabbed 16 rebounds while frontcourt mate Hassan Whiteside (Fr., Gastonia, N.C.) scored 20 points, hauled in 14 boards, and blocked six shots.
Marshall took its biggest lead of the game,36-26, with 45 seconds remaining in the first half. A Culpepper three at the first half buzzer followed by nine straight to begin the second half that keyed a 14-2 UTEP run that took the Miners from seven down to the lead. UTEP led by 11 with 9:31 remaining before the Herd mounted 14-2 in which Whiteside scored five points that gave MU a 65-64 lead with 5:39 remaining. A Damier Pitts (So., Charlotte, N.C.) three-point field goal with 4:01 remaining gave the Herd a 72-68 advantage, but UTEP scored on their next two possessions to tie the score for the third time in the game.
The exchanged baskets before Wilkerson tied the game 76-76 with 46 seconds remaining when he sank a pair of free throws. UTEP fed the ball into Caracter and he responded with a layup 10 seconds later. Marshall did not call timeout and worked the ball into Wilkerson with eight seconds remaining. His jumper fell short, Shaquille Johnson
(So., Jacksonsville, Fla.) attempted to grab the rebound and call timeout going out of bounds, but the timeout wasn't granted, giving UTEP the ball. The Miners called timeout. Caracter threw a long inbounds pass to Culpepper who worked five seconds off the clock before he was fouled. Culpepper made both of his free throws for what proved to be the final 80-76 score.
UTEP's Claude Britten had 14 coming off the bench for the Miners who were outrebounded by the Herd 50-35. UTEP went 20-of-35 (57.1%) in the second half to shoot 45.6% (31-of-68) for the game. Wilkerson went 10-for-12 from the free throw line as the Herd were 18-of-24 (75%) from the charity stripe. Marshall shot 38.8% (26-of-67) from the field.