RECAP: Memphis survives a feisty effort from Alabama State to move to 3-0.
Tony Madlock’s Hornets didn’t make it easy for the Tigers Friday night.
Their effort ultimately wasn’t enough, though. Memphis (3-0) still managed a 92-75 victory over Alabama State (1-3) heading into next week’s Battle 4 Atlantis tournament in The Bahamas.
Memphis had another impressive offensive showing, shooting 53% from the field. The Tigers also made 11 of their 24 3-point attempts and finished the game with four double-digit scorers. Defensively, Memphis forced 8 Alabama State turnovers, blocked 7 shots and held the Hornets to 30% shooting. It also out-rebounded Alabama State 50-42.
The Tigers now turn their attention towards next Wednesday when they open the Battle 4 Atlantis against Michigan, which was upset by Long Beach State on Friday.
Here are some takeaways from Memphis’ hard-fought win over the Hornets.
Another sluggish first half
Memphis once again shot itself in the foot repeatedly in the game’s first 20 minutes.
The Tigers turned the ball over 10 times, allowed 14 offensive rebounds and saw the Hornets go on a 7-0 run to cut Memphis’ lead to 31-30 with 5:12 left in the first half. D’Ante Bass and CJ Hines led Alabama State 9 points each in the period. Bass also grabbed 4 rebounds.
The most frustrating part for Memphis that Alabama State hung around despite shooting just 12-for-45 from the field and scoring 4 measly points off the Tigers’ turnovers. But allowing that many offensive boards and a 6-for-14 clip from 3-point range will cause that to happen.
Memphis still played well offensively, though, shooting 16-for-27 from the field and 50% from beyond the arc. The Tigers also 9-of-11 from the free throw line and led for the entire period in spite of their struggles.
David Jones—once again—cleaned up the Tigers’ mess.
Whenever Memphis has needed someone to step up in the early portion of this season, Jones has answered the bell every single time.
Friday night was no exception. The St. John’s transfer was unstoppable in the final minutes of the first half, finishing the period with 17 points and 5 rebounds while shooting 6-of-9 from the field and 3-for-4 from the perimeter. Jones scored 13 points in the final 4:52 of the first half and ended the half with a buzzer-beating 3-point shot from the corner. The 6-foot-6 wing also compiled a steal and a block.
Jones didn’t stop in the second half either. He scored 5 more points and recorded 5 more rebounds in the game’s final 20 minutes. He finished the game with 22 points and 10 rebounds in only 26 minutes.
Caleb Mills and Jordan Brown return to the starting lineup.
After coming off the bench against both Jackson State and Missouri, Mills and Brown—two of Memphis’ prized transfers—made their way back into the Tigers’ starting lineup against the Hornets.
Brown, a 6-foot-11 center from Louisiana, had another productive outing. The 2023 Lou Henson Award winner scored 8 points and nabbed 3 rebounds while shooting 3-of-7 from the field. The Hornets—just like all the Tigers’ opponents thus far—had no real answer to stop Brown from scoring in the paint. His return to the starting five simply reaffirms just how valuable he is to the U of M.
Mills, a 6-foot-5 guard from Florida State, finished with 10 points, 3 assists and 2 rebounds on 3-of-5 shooting. The Tigers also started Jones, Jahvon Quinerly and Jaykwon Walton. While the Dominican Republic native stole the show, Walton and Quinerly also had great outing.
Quinerly, who compiled 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 steals in the Tigers’ win over Missouri, made significant contributions against the Hornets. He scored 16 points while shooting 3-of-5 from 3-point range and also compiled 8 rebounds and 4 assists. After a sluggish first outing against Jackson State, it’s safe to say the 6-foot-1 point guard has completely re-found his groove—a groove that led him becoming the 2021-22 SEC Preseason Player of the Year while at Alabama. Quinerly also helped lead the Crimson Tide to three separate Sweet 16 appearances.
Walton kicked into another gear in the second half, recoding 7 points and 4 rebounds in the period. The Wichita State transfer finished the game with 12 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists on 4-of-9 shooting. He’s now scoring 14.6 points per game to start the season.
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