Three games into his college coaching career, Isiah Thomas was already asking for mercy. Midway through the second half of Florida International's 81-49 loss at Tulsa on Sunday, Thomas motioned toward his counterpart as if to ask when he'd take his starters out.
A few minutes later, he got vocal with his request, shouting a few words in the direction of Golden Hurricane Coach Doug Wojcik.
At that point, FIU (0-3) was down 63-25 with 8:59 to play after being outscored 27-5 to start the second half.
"I don't press and I don't embarrass anybody," Wojcik said. "But it's a 40-minute game, and I'm in this game to get better.
"I've never seen anything like that. It was very bizarre."
Wojcik, who was putting leading scorer Ben Uzoh back into the game, looked back at Thomas and shrugged his shoulders. He pulled 7-footer Jerome Jordan shortly thereafter and Uzoh with more than five minutes remaining. He had emptied his entire bench with three minutes left.
Wojcik explained that he had only eight scholarship players available.
"There's 10 minutes left in the game and, to be honest with you, I only have so many guys," Wojcik said.
Thomas, saying his team had a flight to catch, took only three questions after the game — and he dodged the one asking about his interaction with Wojcik.
"We weren't as good as we would have liked to have been, and they were really good," Thomas said before heading toward the door.
On his way out, he added: "By the way, I'd like to invite them back to play us next year. I hope he accepts. Good luck."
Marshall 79, North Carolina A&T 63: Tyler Wilkerson (Lafayette) grabbed a career-high 20 rebounds to lead Marshall past visiting North Carolina A&T. Thomas Coleman (Jeffersontown) had 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Aggies.
No. 6 North Carolina 88, Valparaiso 77: Deon Thompson scored 16 of his 20 points after halftime to help No. 6 North Carolina hold off Valparaiso 88-77 at Chapel Hill, N.C. Ed Davis added 16 points for the Tar Heels (3-0), who didn't look sharp yet still earned their third straight double-digit victory to open the season.
Florida 74, Stetson 46: Chandler Parsons scored 14 points, Alex Tyus added 12 points and 13 rebounds, and Florida opened the season with victory at Gainesville, Fla.
No. 23 Louisville 65, Dayton 63: Monique Reid (Fern Creek) had 18 points and 14 rebounds to help Louisville edge Dayton. LaToya Johnson and Asia Taylor both had 10 points for the Cardinals (1-0), who trailed 60-53 with 4:53 to play. Kayla Moses (Scott County) scored seven points for the Flyers.
No. 4 Notre Dame 102, Ark-Pine Bluff 57: The Irish broke the 100-point barrier at home for the first time in seven years. Natalie Novosel (Lexington Catholic) had 10 points, six assists and four steals for Notre Dame.
No. 24 Middle Tennessee 78, Central Florida 58: Alysha Clark had 32 points and 15 rebounds for her 56th career double-double, leading host Middle Tennessee to a win. Chelsia Lymon (Scott County) added 17 points.
No. 17 DePaul 77, North Dakota State 65: Anna Martin (Lexington Catholic) had 15 points, three assists and three steals for host DePaul in her collegiate debut.
No. 8 Tennessee 74, No. 7 Baylor 65: Shekinna Stricklen had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the host Vols. Brittney Griner, the Lady Bears' celebrated recruit who dunked in an exhibition game, scored 15 points but never got close enough to the rim for a chance to dunk.