– by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief
FRISCO, Texas — For the most part, the top seeds held to form in the quarterfinals of the 2019 Conference USA Tournament on the men’s side. However, just three seconds separated what was expected and absolute chaos.
In the first of the four quarterfinal games inside of the Ford Center at The Star on Thursday evening, top-seeded Old Dominion overcame an 11-point deficit early in the second half and then used an Ahmad Caver three-pointer with 3.2 seconds remaining to defeat No. 8 Louisiana Tech 57-56 to advance to the semifinals. The Monarchs were still down by seven with 1:48 remaining after the Bulldogs’ DaQuan Bracey knocked home a three, but then the senior guard Caver came through by scoring the game’s final eight points. Before Caver’s game-winning three, Bracey missed a pair of free throws that could have been Tech a two-possession lead with 28 seconds left.
ODU will next play the Blazers of UAB, the No. 5 seed who defeated No. 4 UTSA 85-76, the only seed upset in the quarterfinals. UAB fell behind 42-35 at halftime before putting up 50 in the second half, the most points it has put up in a second half this season.
The two games that paralleled each other following the ODU and UAB games lacked for real drama as the higher seeds did what was expected of them. Second-seeded Western Kentucky cruised to a 67-51 victory over No. 10 North Texas, led by the 23 points of Hilltoppers guard Taveion Hollingsworth. WKU will play No. 3 seed Southern Miss, who defeated No. 6 Marshall 82-73 as four players scored in double figures for the Golden Eagles.
In women’s action, each of the top four seeds won their quarterfinal games by double digits to advance to Friday evening’s semifinals. Top-seeded Rice will take on No. 4 Western Kentucky while No. 2 UAB will play No. 3 Middle Tennessee.
The Thursday evening winners on the men’s side will have a quick turnaround on Friday, with both semifinal games occurring in the afternoon before the ladies’ semifinals are played in the evening.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday night’s action, with all photos taken by Dallas-area photographer Ross James. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are currently 29 pictures in total.