In recent years, the University of Memphis basketball team has had a problem with playing down to the competition. That problem manifested in last week's exhibition when the Tigers came out slow in the first half against Christian Brothers University and actually trailed at halftime.
Memphis won by double digits, but coach Josh Pastner wasn't happy with the overall effort. He wants to see his team play hard all 40 minutes.
So it wasn't a surprise this past Monday (Nov. 12) when Memphis came out firing against the Ospreys of North Florida. The Tigers did seem a little sluggish right out of the gates, but with the help of Antonio Barton's 11-point first half Memphis jumped out to a 47-25 lead at the break.
It was good to see Barton – a crucial piece of the Memphis success formula – get into a rhythm early, considering that he and Pastner had a sideline disagreement in Memphis' exhibition game against CBU, with Barton sent to the locker room during the second half.
The Tigers continued to showcase their dominance in the second half and cruised to their first victory of the regular season (88-61). Joe Jackson was a top performer, recording 14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists in 34 minutes. Tarik Black also had a quality outing, posting 18 points and 7 rebounds.
Getting into foul trouble has been a problem for Black during his tenure with the Tigers. He had three fouls in Memphis' most recent outing and that resulted in him only playing 26 minutes. No doubt, Memphis is much better when Black is on the floor.
The 17th ranked Tigers have a tune-up game against Samford this Saturday (Nov. 17) before heading to the Bahamas to compete in the Battle for Atlantis tournament.