Sat04192014

Sports

Champ shoes fit the Tigers!

 

Over the last week, the clouds have parted for Memphis and the future is looking much brighter for the Tigers. Yet, they are not completely out of the storm.

by J.R. Moorhead
Special to the Tri-State Defender

Over the last week, the clouds have parted for Memphis and the future is looking much brighter for the Tigers. Yet, they are not completely out of the storm.

 
 The Memphis Tigers meant business against the UCF Knights, clamping down on defense on the way to an 84-55 romp. (Photo by Warren Roseborough)

Last Saturday (Feb. 25), Memphis traveled to Marshall to take on the Thundering Herd in hostile territory. Marshall had only lost four games at home all season, but the Tigers were determined to make it five.

The Tigers didn’t blow the Herd away in the first half, but during the second period Memphis pulled away. Memphis again looked extremely impressive beating Marshall by a final of 87 to 67.

With the win, the Tigers improved to 11-3 in conference and since Southern Miss dropped two games last week (10-4), Memphis moved into sole possession of first place in C-USA.

In their most recent contest, the Tigers were slated to play the Knights of UCF at the FedExForum on Tuesday night (Feb. 28). The Knights had already beaten Memphis this year in Orlando, handing the Tigers their fist conference loss and proving they are not a team to be overlooked.

It was senior night for the Tigers and the crowd of nearly 18,000 was happy to congratulate seniors Wesley Witherspoon and Preston Laird. And the crowd was also excited to watch Memphis drub the Knights from the start.

The Tigers were determined to not let UCF hang around this time and jumped on the Knights early. Memphis took a 15-point lead (33-18) into the half and did not plan on slacking up in the second half.

The Tigers’ quickly crushed any chance of a comeback by the Knights with their shooting performance in the second half. Memphis converted 63 percent from the field and also added 7 treys.  At one point, the Tigers’ lead grew as large as 38 points.

Will Barton added another double-double to his outstanding season with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Some speculate that Barton may head to the NBA draft after this season, and True Blue Nation would rather see W. Barton in Tiger Blue next year. So when Coach Pastner took Barton out of the game with about 5 minutes remaining, the rambunctious crowd chanted, “One More Year! One More Year!” as the true sophomore headed to the bench.

After the final horn blew, the Tigers had defeated the UCF Knights 84-55 and Memphis improved to 12-3 in conference play. The victory gave the U of M a share of the regular season title for the seventh time in the program’s history.

Memphis will be the number one seed because Tulsa lost to UAB on Wednesday night.

The Tigers have been up and down this year, and with the conference tourney ahead, it’s a great time for an upswing.

 

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