After getting run out of the gym by Oklahoma State's Cowboys, the Memphis Tigers looked to rebound this past Saturday (Nov. 23) against the Nicholls State Colonels. Regardless of the embarrassing loss, the True Blue Nation showed its unwavering support, packing the FedExforum.
And, the fans got what they came to see. The Tigers drummed the Colonels to the tune of a 98-59 victory. It was quite clear from the onset that Nicholls was outmanned.
With the OSU loss fresh on their minds, no one should have been surprised that Memphis came out hungry and dominated the game.
Freshman forward Austin Nichols set his career high scoring mark with 20 points, adding 5 rebounds and a steal. It was somewhat of a breakout game for the new Tiger.
However, his freshman counterpart, forward Nick King, has been the standout so far this season. On Monday, King was awarded with the American Athletic conference rookie of the week honor. He averaged 17.5 points and 7 rebounds in the Tigers' two games last week. Even more impressive, King was able to convert 57.1 percent of his field goals and 66.7 percent from beyond the arc over that span.
The East High product has scored 48 points through three games, which puts him fifth all-time through three games. With names such as Dajuan Wagner (76), Derrick Rose (55), Shawne Williams (50), and Tyreke Evans (49) atop that list, it puts his accomplishment into perspective.
On a historic note, King is also the first Tiger basketball player to receive an individual weekly honor from the newly formed American conference.
Unfortunately, this blowout win didn't affect the voters, as Memphis dropped 12 spots (from No. 11 to No. 23) in the poll released Monday. Although Memphis' fans have shown they still have faith in their team, it is quite clear that the sports media and coaches around the nation definitely question the validity of the Tigers' previous No. 11 ranking.
As they should.
With Memphis participating in the Old Spice Classic over the holiday weekend, the Tigers will look to regain some respect. They are slated to play Siena (2-4) at 5:30 p.m. CT on Thanksgiving Day.
If Memphis is able to string together a couple of wins, they could end up facing Oklahoma State again in the championship game. The Tigers should always be most focused on their next game, but a rematch with the Cowboys has to be a pretty good incentive to come out firing this weekend.