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RECAP: Memphis basketball smothers Tulane for third consecutive win

The Tigers took care of business on Super Bowl Sunday. (Image Credit: Memphis Athletics)
By Roman Cleary - February 11, 2024, 4:23 pm - 1 comments

The Tigers got their revenge on the Green Wave Sunday afternoon.

Memphis (18-6, 7-4 AAC) defeated Tulane 90-78 in the two programs’ second matchup this season at FedExForum. The Green Wave (13-10, 4-7 AAC) beat the Tigers 81-79 on Jan. 21 inside Devlin Fieldhouse. This is Memphis’ first regular season win over Tulane since 2022.

Penny Hardaway’s team shot 47% from the field and 38% from 3-point range. The Tigers also racked up 21 assists, 14 forced turnovers, 12 offensive rebounds and 5 blocks. David Jones led Memphis with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 2 steals while shooting 8-of-12 from the field. Jahvon Quinerly finished the afternoon with 18 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and 3 steals on 4-of-7 perimeter shooting.

Ron Hunter’s club shot 38% on its field goal attempts and 37% on its 3-point attempts. The Green Wave also compiled 12 offensive rebounds, 12 assists, 11 forced turnovers, 9 steals and 5 blocks. Both teams finished with 40 rebounds. Collin Holloway led Tulane with 16 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Sion James (12), Tre’ Williams (12), Kevin Cross (11), Jaylen Forbes (11) and Kolby King (10) also scored double-digit points.

The Tigers—still No. 6 in the American—now look ahead to two big road tests in the next week. They’ll visit North Texas (No. 78 in the NET) on Thursday, which is a projected Quad 2 game. After that, Memphis will take a quick road trip to Dallas for a rematch with SMU (No. 44 in the NET) next Sunday, which is a projected Quad 1 opportunity.

Here are some takeaways from Memphis’ third straight victory.

The Tigers’ defense overwhelms Tulane

Such a statement would’ve sounded ludicrous as recently as two weeks ago, but that doesn’t make it any less true. Memphis smothered the Green Wave’s high-octane offense Sunday afternoon, and the way the Tigers did it was quite simple—effort, energy and a whole lotta pressure.

Hardaway’s club was relentless to start the contest, refusing to give Tulane an inch after the latter shot 41% from 3-point range against the former last month. The Green Wave had no answers for Memphis’ full-court press, which generated 9 steals in the first half. Jones, Quinerly and Jaykwon Walton racked up 2 apiece during the opening period. Hunter’s team also shot 8-of-29 from the field and 27% from beyond the arc before halftime.

Memphis forced five more turnovers and got two more steals in the second half. The Tigers also blocked three shots in the game’s final 20 minutes. Quinerly, Jones and Walton combined for 7 steals.

Nae’Qwan Tomlin is finding his way.

It took a little while for the Kansas State transfer to get fully acclimated with his new team, but he’s seemingly found his rhythm.

Tomlin, who recently became a regular starter, made his presence felt in Sunday’s game. He scored Memphis’ first four points, and only kept filling the stat sheet from there. Despite missing the final 7:14 of the first half with two personal fouls, he still finished the period with 10 points, 3 rebounds, an offensive board and a steal while shooting 3-of-8 overall.

He scored 6 more points and blocked a shot in the second half. The 6-foot-10 forward finished the game with 16 points, 4 rebounds, a block and a steal on 5-of-14 shooting.

Unselfish play

One common criticism of this year’s Memphis basketball team is its lack of playmaking. The Tigers have long had the reputation of a talented, but selfish team that won’t make plays for each other. But they addressed that emphatically against Tulane.

Hardaway’s club perhaps had its most giving outing of the season, which provided efficient results on the offensive end. The Tigers shot 16-of-30 from the field and 55% from 3-point range in the first half, and eight different players scored a basket in that span. Memphis finished the half with 12 assists, with Jones, Walton and Quinerly combining for 10 of them.

The Tigers continued their unselfish ways in the second half. Seven different players scored at least 2 points, and Memphis racked up nine more assists throughout the final period. Quinerly, Jones and Walton finished with 14 combined dishes for the game.


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