(Photo by Noah Francis)
by Neil Meyer
Fort Worth, Texas- The first day of the AAC Men’s conference tournament kicked
off this afternoon here at Dickies Arena and man was it a good one. It started with
#9 seed East Carolina upsetting #8 seed USF 73 to 58. A game in which ECU was
down by nearly 15 points early then rallied back behind big time Performances
from Jaden Walker and RJ Felton.
Walker, finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists, while Felton finished
with 22 points as well. Bulls senior guard Tyler Harris finished with a game high 26
points and left every ounce of sweat on the hardwood this afternoon. Harris
finished 8 th in the American in scoring averaging nearly 17 points per game, and
put on a shooting clinic here at Dickies Arena in game one of the day.
Now let’s look at the second game of the day UCF vs SMU. A game in which SMU
started with a huge 7-0 run to take an early 9-2 lead forcing an early Knight
timeout. However, the Mustangs kept their foot on the gas and took their largest
lead of the game in the first half, leading 24-11. However, the Knights crawled
back slowly and surely in the second half behind huge second halves from guards
CJ Kelly and Ithiel Horton. Kelly finished with a game high of 21 points. (18) in the
second half. Horton on the other hand shot 0-7 from the field in the first half, but
then shot 6-10 in the second half tallying 15 second half points to help propel the
Knights over the Mustangs. We can’t forget about highly touted prospect Taylor
Hendricks when talking about the Knights though, the 6’9 freshman was
phenomenal tonight, as he finished with 15 points and eight rebounds in the
Knights 76-70 victory over SMU. A performance that stood out for the Mustangs
was guard Zhuric Phelps who finished with 21 points and 7 assists. Phelps didn’t
play the last time these two teams faced, and man was he a difference-maker
here this afternoon. Phelps, announced on Twitter last week he will return to SMU
for his final year of eligibility.
The Third and final game of the day was Tulsa vs Wichita State and man did
Wichita State dominates from start to finish here at Dickies Arena. The Shockers
outscored the Golden Hurricanes 46-24 in the paint, as the Shockers were just
dominating inside all night. The Golden Hurricanes have been without leading
Scorer Sam Griffin for the last month due to injury, but man did they miss his
presence here tonight. The Golden Hurricanes were led by Tyler Dalger who
finished with 21 points on 6-13 shooting. However, outside Dalger the Golden
Hurricanes didn’t have much offense. The Shockers saw five players score in
double-figures as James Rojas, Kenny Pohto, and Jaren Pierre Jr each had 13
points as they shot nearly 63% from the field in their 81-63 victory over SMU.
Heading into the second round, here are the matchups we will see tomorrow
#8 ECU vs #1 Houston at 1pm.
#4 UC vs #5 Temple at 3:30pm
#7 UCF vs #2 Memphis at 7pm
#6 Wichita State vs #3 Tulane at 9pm
We will be back here at Dickies Arena tomorrow afternoon to provide all of the
latest updates and news regarding the AAC Conference tournament.