The first semifinal match-up of the 2017 C-USA Men’s Basketball Championship presented by MetroPCS has been determined. Top-seeded Middle Tennessee will square off with No. 4 seed UTEP at 11:30 a.m. on CBS Sports Network.
The defending C-USA champion Blue Raiders, who also won the 2017 regular-season crown, only suffered one conference loss in the regular season. That was to the Miners back on Feb. 4 in El Paso. Box scores, notes, quotes and photo galleries from each game are linked below at Championship Central.
Quarterfinals/Game 5: (1) Middle Tennessee 86, (9) UTSA 70
Top-seeded Middle Tennessee advanced to the C-USA Championship semifinals for the third year in a row with an 86-70 win over UTSA. The Blue Raiders, ranked No. 25 in this week’s USA Today Coaches Poll, will square off with the winner of Rice/UTEP on Friday, March 10 at 11:30 a.m. CT. That game can be seen on CBS Sports Network.
Senior Reggie Upshaw Jr. led the Blue Raiders with 21 points, hitting 9-of-14 from the field, while classmate JaCorey Williams contributed 14 points and nine rebounds. Three other Blue Raiders scored in double-figures as Middle Tennessee won its eighth straight game and improved to 28-4 on the season.
UTSA juniors Austin Karrer and Jeff Beverly, along with freshman Giovanni De Nicolao chipped in 10 points apiece for the Roadrunners, who end their season at 14-19 (a nine-game improvement from a year ago.)
Quarterfinals/Game 6: (4) UTEP 86, Rice 76
No. 4 seed UTEP defeated No. 5 Rice, 86-76, in the quarterfinals of the 2017 C-USA Men’s Basketball Championship presented by MetroPCS. UTEP will face top-seeded Middle Tennessee, whose only conference loss of the regular season was to the Miners, in Friday’s semifinals. Tip is Friday at 11:30 a.m. on CBS Sports Network.
Senior guard Dominic Artis, an All-Conference USA second-team selection, tossed in 20 of his season-high 26 in the first half as the Miners jumped out to a 49-29 advantage at the half. Artis evened scored 20 of the last 25 points going into the break. Artis also had 10 rebounds for his ninth double-double of the season. Junior Omega Harris scored 21 points for the Miners.
Sophomore Marcus Evans, a two-time All-Conference USA first-team performer, finished with 21 points for the Owls. Classmate Connor Cashaw chipped in with 17 points, seven boards and a career-high six assists.
Quarterfinals/Game 7: (2) Louisiana Tech 69, (7) UAB 57
Louisiana Tech, the No. 2 seed in the 2017 C-USA Men’s Basketball Championship presented by MetroPCS, eliminated No. 7 seed and host UAB with a 69-57 victory. The Bulldogs will face the winner of the Marshall-Old Dominion quarterfinal in Friday’s 2:30 p.m. CT semifinal on CBS Sports Network.
Senior Erik McCree, who represented LA Tech on the All-Conference USA first team, scored 20 points and grabbed 16 rebounds for the Bulldogs. It was his 13th double-double of the season and 24th of his career. Freshman Jalen Harris chipped in 17 points and junior Jacobi Boykins added 17 as the Bulldogs held a 21-point lead (41-20) in the second half.
Three Blazers scored in double figures and junior Chris Cokley came off the bench for a team-best 12 boards.