Chris Jones made two free throws to push the game into OT and won it with two more as No. 10 seed North Texas edged 15th-seeded Rice in the first round of the Conference-USA tournament.
Rashad Ray and James Woodard each scored 18 points and Tulsa took down North Texas 79-68 Thursday to earn a share of the Conference USA regular season title.
Sean Obi had 18 points with 13 rebounds and Marcus Jackson added 13 points and seven assists as Rice defeated North Texas 75-70 Thursday night.
Michael Craig scored 21 points and was 7-for-7 from the free throw line Thursday night as Southern Mississippi beat UNT 74-64 in the Conference USA opener for both teams.
Either SMU or Memphis will finally be able to celebrate its first AAC victory on Saturday night, after the two former Conference USA members face off at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.
Jordan Swing scored 17 points, including a layup with 9 seconds to play, and UAB beat SMU 53-52 in the opener of the Conference USA tournament on Wednesday.
Jim Larranaga’s team has had a banner season, but they’ll likely have to beat Duke for a second time this season — this time with Ryan Kelly — to reinforce their potential to go deep in the NCAA Tournament.
Julian Washburn had 20 points and eight rebounds as UTEP closed out the regular season with a 76-63 victory over SMU on Saturday.
Conference USA, which is expanding to 14 members even with four leaving for the Big East in 2013, announced its football schedule and new division alignments Wednesday.
SMU accepted its invitation last week. SMU Athletics Director Rick Hart said the game is a tremendous reward for the school’s players. SMU finished second in Conference USA’s West Division.
SMU has accepted an invitation to play in the Hawaii Bowl. SMU will meet a team from the Mountain West on Christmas Eve at Aloha Stadium.
Central Florida was eyeing a return to Conference USA championship game last year before a 21-point loss at Southern Methodist sent the Knights into a 2-5 tailspin to end the season.