Memphis Basketball Recap: Vols thump Tigers
CUSA-fans.com has a new staff of team correspondents this season to help bring you, the fan, more detailed Conference USA sports coverage. Today, our Memphis Correspondent Kyle Eaton brings the latest update on the Memphis Tigers basketball team.
The one area in which the Tigers have always been able to steal the spotlight from the Vols in was basketball. When one reflects on Tiger basketball, they think of playing Bill Walton for the National Title and Final Four trips. When one reflects on Tennessee basketball, they think of Pat Summitt and the Lady Vols. Therefore, any time the Tigers drop a game to the Vols, especially a blowout like last night, it tends to be very difficult to swallow.
Last night’s performance by the Tigers was very anemic and uninspired. The Tigers trailed for nearly the entire 40 minutes of game time, never really giving the Vols a serious challenge for the win. Any time the Tigers would start to gain some momentum, the Vols would snatch it back, reasserting themselves.
UT’s Chris Lofton torched the Tigers for a career high 34 points. Eight of the 34 came consecutively in the second half to end an 11-2 run the Tigers were on to open the half.
Dane Bradshaw, a former Memphis prep star and antagonist of last season’s match up, made the night even harder for Tiger fans to stomach with another solid performance against the Tigers. Bradshaw scored 11 points and pulled in 9 rebounds
The Tigers have struggled mightily this season trying to replace the offensive firepower they lost to the NBA. Chris Douglas Roberts have been the most consistent Tiger scorer, averaging a little over 15 points a game, including 19 last night.
For the Tigers to repeat as CUSA Champs, they need a more complete performance from their presence down low. When Dorsey is not in foul trouble, he is the most dominant player on the court for the Tigers, but that rarely happens. Last night was no exception. Joey Dorsey fouled out with only 2 points, but was able to haul in 13 rebounds. The entire nature of the game would have been altered with Dorsey not picking up fouls early.
The Tigers are in for more of a struggle this season, but all hope is not lost. The Tigers are starting a true freshman at point guard, and often troubled Jeremy Hunt is the only senior seeing any significant playing time. The young Tigers are learning many valuable lessons about how to play college basketball. The best news for Tiger fans is that the majority of the current lineup is skilled, but not nearly as likely to leave early for the NBA draft as in years past.
Last night’s game was the first game for the Tigers in an opponent’s home arena, a situation the Tigers thrived in last year to the tune of a 10-1 record. The Tigers have two more home games before heading out for their next road game, a major test at the Arizona Wildcats.