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MU-UCF rivalry ends Wednesday

Feb. 19, 2013 @ 07:39 PM

HUNTINGTON — Tamron Manning didn’t know much about losing when he became part of the Marshall University men’s basketball program.

Manning’s team at Scott County High School in Georgetown, Ky., lost only five games last season while winning 34 and playing for the Kentucky Sweet 16 state tournament championship. Scott County had a 23-6 record in Manning’s junior season and was 29-7 when he was a sophomore.

“It’s a big learning experience,” said Manning, a freshman logging 10.3 minutes per game for Marshall, which is 11-15 overall and 4-7 in Conference USA.

Marshall, tied for eighth place in C-USA, has five games left beginning with a 7 p.m., Wednesday, contest at UCF to turn its record around and earn a higher seed for the conference tournament March 13-16 in Tulsa, Okla.

UCF (17-8, 7-4) isn’t eligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions.

“There's still a lot of hope,” Manning said. “We just have to refocus and realize we still have games left.”

Marshall and UCF meet for the final time as C-USA rivals with the Knights joining the Big East Conference next season. It’s also Marshall’s final scheduled meeting with UCF head coach Donnie Jones who coached the Thundering Herd from 2007-10.

UCF is not eligible for the postseason because of NCAA sanctions, so the teams won’t face off in the conference tournament.

Marshall (11-15, 4-7)

at UCF (17-8, 7-4)

7 p.m., Wednesday

UCF Arena, Orlando

Radio: WDGG 93.7-FM, WRVC 930-AM and 94.1-FM

Get more of this story in Wednesday's edition of The Herald-Dispatch in print and online.