Facing a hungry opponent with one of your primary scorers and your starting pointing guard injured can be tough for any team.
That was the challenge for the University of Memphis women's basketball team (3-2) against Prairie View A&M (1-4) on Sunday (Nov. 25) at the Elma Roane Fieldhouse. The Tigers fell to the Panthers 70-58.
For the University of Memphis, game two of the regular season was one they should have won, and they did. The story, however, is how the Tigers managed to "get by" a Samford Bulldogs team that seemed determined to leave the FedExForum (Nov. 17) with an upset victory.
The final score was 65-54 Memphis, with the double-digit margin courtesy of the last minute fouls by Samford that sent Tigers' players to the line to close out the game and seal the win.
After the Miami Heat it was the Oklahoma City Thunder.
After Oklahoma City it was the undefeated New York Knicks.
Then it was the Charlotte Bobcats.
The Grizzlies – sporting an 8-1 record – were on top of the world. Well, not literally. Those wins put the team on top of the NBA list, leading the league with the best record overall.
Rivalry games frequently turn into hard-fought battles in which heavily favored teams can often be brought down to size by lesser teams because of the hype leading to the match ups.
If the annual "Battle for the Bones" game (Nov. 17) pitting the University of Memphis against rival UAB was supposed to be close, someone forgot to tell coach Justin Fuente and his Tigers. Memphis traveled to Birmingham, Ala., and absolutely manhandled the Blazers (46-9). It was 21 to 0 at the end of the first quarter and the Tigers didn't look back.
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.
The Miami Heat game plan coming into the sold-out FedExForum (Nov. 11) was to keep Memphis from feeding the ball inside to big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.
Sure. That sounds pretty good, except that the plan backfired as the Grizzlies darted past the world champs 104 to 86. And it was the second unit that led the charge.