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RECAP: Memphis basketball survives at Temple for second straight win.

Memphis avoided disaster in Philadelphia. And at this point, that’s all that matters. (Image Credit: Memphis Athletics)
By Roman Cleary - February 8, 2024, 9:21 pm - 1 comments

Thursday night was exactly what the doctor ordered for the Tigers—for at least the first 20 minutes. The other 20, though not as great, were good enough.

Memphis (17-6, 6-4 AAC) won its second consecutive outing at Temple 84-77, though it led by as much as 23 points in the first half. Head coach Penny Hardaway now owns his sixth overall win against the Owls, and his second win inside The Liacouras Center. This is also the Tigers’ first win over an opponent not named Wichita State since Jan. 10, when they beat UTSA 110-107 in overtime.

The U of M shot 48% from the field and 34% from the 3-point line. It also racked up 18 forced turnovers, 17 assists, 15 assists, 10 offensive rebounds and 4 blocks. David Jones led Memphis with 23 points, 10 rebounds, 6 steals and 4 assists while 7-of-12 overall and 4-of-6 from beyond the arc. Jahvon Quinerly had 19 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds on 6-of-12 shooting. Nae’Qwan Tomlin (11), Nick Jourdain (10) and Jonathan Pierre (10) also scored in double figures.

Temple (8-15, 1-9 AAC) shot 42% on its field goal attempts and 26% on its 3-point tries. It also won the rebounding battle 43-34, and compiled 12 offensive rebounds, 11 forced turnovers, 11 assists, 8 steals and 2 blocks. Jahlil White led the Owls with 20 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists on 6-of-11 shooting. Shane Dezonie (15), Jordan Riley (13), Zion Stanford (12) and Hysier Miller (12) also scored double-digit points.

Memphis now looks ahead to a rematch with Tulane inside FedExForum Sunday (1 p.m., ESPN2). The Green Wave beat the Tigers 81-79 inside Devlin Fieldhouse on Jan. 21. The latter hasn’t defeated the former in a regular season matchup since 2022.

Here are some takeaways from the Tigers’ win over Temple.

Nick Jourdain returns to old stomping grounds.

Jourdain transferred to Memphis last spring after spending three seasons at Temple. The 6-foot-9 forward was greeted with a sea of boos from the Owls’ student section in his return to Philadelphia, but he didn’t seem to care.

He showed off his versatility in the first half with 8 points, 2 rebounds and 2 assists on 4-of-6 shooting. Jourdain even hammered in a slam in front of his former fans with 3:06 left until halftime.

Jourdain got into foul trouble in the second half, racking up four penalties in 15 minutes. But he still got 2 points, 2 steals, a rebound and a block.

Jahvon Quinerly returns to form.

The Alabama transfer has struggled to score lately.

He shot 4-of-15 at UAB on Jan. 28, 3-of-11 versus Rice on Jan. 31 and 1-of-13 against Wichita State last Saturday. But Thursday night was a different story. Quinerly led all scorers in the first half with 15 points on 6-of-7 field goal shooting and 3-of-4 perimeter shooting. The 6-foot-1 guard also went into halftime with 3 assists, 3 rebounds and a steal.

Quinerly didn’t make a field goal in the second half. But he still knocked in four crucial points, including Memphis’ last two at the free throw line to seal the game. He also got three more assists, two more rebounds and a steal.

Memphis uses first half rally to run away from Temple, withstands last gasp from the Owls in the second half.

The Tigers started Thursday’s game with a 9-2 run. But as they’ve done too often this season, they let their opponent stick around.

The Owls went on an 11-4 run to cut Memphis’ lead to 14-13 with 12:03 left in the first half. That’s when Hardaway and Co. had seen enough, though. The Tigers then scored the game’s next seven points, and followed that up with three straight 3-pointers—one from Jones and two from Quinerly.

Memphis led Temple 31-16 with 5:45 left until halftime, and only kept scoring at will from there. Quinerly made two more 3-pointers, Jourdain made three straight baskets and even Pierre got in on the action with a deep bomb. The Tigers led the Owls 45-27 at the break.

The Tigers remained in the control for the first 10 minutes of the final period—holding a 63-45 advantage with 11:47 on the clock. But just before Temple passed out, Memphis relinquished its proverbial sleeper hold. This nearly cost the Tigers the game.

Temple used a 15-0 run to cut Memphis’ lead to 63-60 with 7:27 to go. The Tigers suddenly lost their composure, just like before. Their substitution became erratic, just like before. They seemed destined to blow another game to an inferior opponent, just like before.

But Jones had something to say about that this time around. He extended Memphis’ lead back to six with a contested 3-pointer, and Pierre later brought it back up to eight using a 3-pointer of his own with 1:35 to go.

Just as things looked to be wrapped up, however, Memphis missed four free throws over the next minute and Matteo Picarelli’s 3-pointer made the score 80-77 with 27 seconds left. But Jones and Quinerly closed things out for good at the charity stripe. They didn’t make it easy, but the Tigers got out of dodge and kept their at-large bid hopes alive.

Memphis has failed the test of closing out games numerous times throughout the past month. While it didn’t exactly get an A-plus Thursday night, it did get a C-minus. And that is evidently a passing grade, at least for now.


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