As of late, winning has been the routine for the University of Memphis Tigers basketball squad. So when the Tigers knocked off Tulsa last Saturday (Feb. 2), it wasn't a shocker.
Memphis' latest victory was its twelfth in a row as the Tigers continued to roll through their conference schedule. However, the margin of the win (94-64) surely turned a few heads. Just to put it into perspective, over the Tigers' previous four triumphs they only won by a combined 29 points.
The Tulsa Golden Hurricane isn't exactly a push over. They came into the game with a winning record (12-9, 4-3 C-USA), and they have often given Memphis problems. But to say the Tigers were firing on all cylinders this past weekend would be an understatement.
The Tigers did everything right. Memphis shot 48 percent from the field and converted a season-high 12 three-point shots. And that wasn't the only season-high that would be set. The Tigers recorded 12 blocks, 5 from D.J. Stephens, and also a season-high point total (94).
Other numbers that bode well for Memphis: 50 bench points. Pastner went with a deep lineup (10 players with over 10 minutes of playing time). The fresh legs aided in the transition, where the Tigers were at their best – 25 assists on 32 made baskets. If that doesn't say team chemistry, then nothing does.
Stephens was arguably the best performer, with 15 points, 13 rebounds and 5 blocks in only 16 minutes of playing time. Antonio Barton added 16 points in only 18 minutes. Chris Crawford, who appears to have officially come out of his slump, knocked down 12 points, along with 5 assists and 5 rebounds.
This dominating effort has to leave many True Blue fans smiling. Memphis truly showed a glimpse of how good they are capable of playing. Last Saturday, the Tigers could have played with any team in the country, and probably won.
Yet, championships are not won in February.
Memphis has two road games ahead of them this week. On Tuesday (Feb. 6), the Tigers will be in Dallas to take on Southern Methodist. After that, Memphis travels (Feb. 9) to Hattiesburg, Miss., to take on Southern Mississippi, which is a crucial conference match-up.
But for now, the Tigers are riding high on their latest accomplishments. Will they keep the momentum? Or will a trip to Hattiesburg shake things up?