By Jeff Goodman
Conference USA is wide-open.
Marshall squeaked by Central Florida this past weekend in Huntington. The Knights then held serve at home last night against Memphis. Southern Miss is also in the equation.
"There's more parity in the league this year," Central Florida coach Donnie Jones said on Thursday morning.
Jones said the court-storming at UCF was the first that anyone could remember in the history of the program. It was also the first time that the Knights had come on top against Memphis.
"We were 0-10 against them going into the game," Jones said. "It's a big win for our program because of the level that they have been at over the years."
The game-winner was delivered by junior big man Keith Clanton, whose foul in the final seconds against Marshall allowed DeAndre Kane to go to the line and give the Thundering Herd the win.
"The place went crazy," Jones said.
Now Central Florida sits a half-game behind Marshall, which is 4-0 in the league, and a half-game in front of both Memphis and Southern Miss.
Clanton finished with 23 points and eight boards and rebounded from a dismal performance against Marshall with 20 points. Jones also praised the defensive effort of Isaiah Sykes in the second half, holding Memphis star Will Barton in check after a big first half.
The Tigers were playing their second game without star freshman Adonis Thomas, who may miss the rest of the season following foot surgery. Thus far, Barton has been the only player on Josh Pastner's team that has lived up to expectations.
Remember, this was a team that many pegged as a Top 10 squad nationally.
The Tigers missed on virtually every quality opportunity in the non-league slate -- and now find themselves in the middle of a heated league race.