During the AAC title game where Memphis took their first conference championship in the Liberty Bowl, the Men’s Basketball team struggled against a less than impressive UAB team. A less than impressive team that led the Tigers much of the game. The start of Saturday’s game against the UAB Blazers was not really ideal.
The Tigers trailed the Blazers most of Saturday’s game. However, Coach Hardaway’s team continued to play until the final buzzer hit 0:00. Trailing 40-26 at the half, the Tigers came back out onto the court with one mindset: winning. Still lacking James Wiseman and Lester Quinones, they did not take the lead until the final three minutes of the game. The Tigers forced 23 turnovers. Much of which contributed to much of the win. Along with turnovers, leadership had a lot to do with Saturday’s win as well. Forward Precious Achiuwa scored eight points in the last 14 minutes of the game after going 0-6 in the first half.
Also, much of the Tigers win was contributed by veteran Alex Lomax. After finishing the first half scoreless as well, Lomax had 10 points. It’s now pretty clear that Lomax continues to show leadership on, and off of the court.
Ultimately, Saturday’s game showed how resilient this Tiger team is even when it has missing pieces.
During the coach Hardaway show Monday evening, Coach Penny Hardaway joked, “Yeah I told our team not to play defense in the first half. They did a great job.”
After their 8-1 start, and their 6 game winning streak, the Tigers will have their biggest test of the season this weekend. Saturday, the Tigers take on the Tennessee Vols in Knoxville, without James Wiseman. Despite the Tigers 5-game winning streak, they will be faced with new challenges as they play long-time foes.