Lockdown Defense secures Tiger victory over Houston
MEMPHIS, Tenn.– After two weeks without playing at Elma Roane Fieldhouse, the Tigers returned to Memphis for an American Athletic Conference game with Houston. With the game tight for the entire 40 minutes, some big defensive stops on the road would have given Memphis a 57-53 win over the Cougars.
After today’s game, Memphis goes 11-5 overall and 2-3 in AAC play.
The fast pace was set early by both teams; at the first media timeout, the Tigers and Cougars had already had four lead changes. Houston would extend its lead to four after two free throws from Laila Blair, but Emani Jefferson and Alana Davis would light up the throws and score on three straight possessions to tie the game at 18-18.
The Cougars would add a jump shot at the buzzer to take a 20-18 second quarter lead.
Houston and Memphis would trade buckets in the second quarter before the Tiger offense could create some space between the teams.
Consecutive lay-ups from Davis and a free throw from Jamirah Shutes would give the Tigers their biggest halftime lead at 32-26 with 2:28 left in the quarter. The Cougars would add baskets in the last minute of play before Tyler Friesian closed the half with a layup and put Memphis ahead 34-30 before halftime.
Memphis secured their biggest lead of the day right from the break when Madison Grigg drained a three-pointer from the near side and put the Tigers up 37-30.
Houston’s offense began to cut into the Tiger’s lead, going 9-2 and regaining the lead with 4:39 left in the third quarter.
The Cougars wouldn’t go far as the Memphis offense continued to push. Jefferson, Shutes and Griggs would keep the Tigers close to Houston and close the 49-45 deficit in the final 10 minutes.
It was all Memphis in the fourth quarter as they beat Houston 12-4 and took the win 57-54 with two free throws from Tyler Friesian with 19 seconds remaining on the clock. Houston would get one last shot, but a defensive rebound of Emani Jeffersonsealed the deal.
Madison Grigg and Emani Jefferson led the way for the Tigers with 13 points apiece while Jamirah Shutes and Tyler Friesian both added in eight points. Lanetta Williams and Jefferson were a dominant force on the boards today with eight and seven, respectively, while Jefferson and Shutes combined for nine of the team’s 11 assists.
As a team, Memphis 43 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range
The Tigers will be back in action when they travel to Oklahoma to take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane on Wednesday night. Tipping is due at 6:30 p.m. Memphis will return to Elma Roane Fieldhouse on Saturday, January 29 when they host the Owls of Temple University. Tipping is expected at 2 p.m.