Tigers cut 14-point deficit to two but can’t complete comeback
MEMPHIS, TN – The Memphis Tigers trailed 14 points in the first half and cut the deficit to two to start the second half, but SMU pulled away and secured a 70-62 victory Thursday night at FedExForum.
Memphis (9-8, 3-4 American Athletic Conference) was led by Tyler Harris‘ 17 points. Jalen Duren added 11 and nine rebounds. Alex Lomaxplaying his first game since Dec. 29 at Tulane, had five points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals in 26 minutes.
The Tigers played without DeAndre Williams, Nolley II landers and Jayden Hardaway due to injury. Now seven different Tigers, Emoni BatesDuren, Hardaway, Lomax, Nolley II, Count Timberlake and Williams, have missed at least one game this month due to injury.
NR/RV SMU (14-4, 5-1 AAC) was paced by the conference’s top scorer, Kendric Daviswho had 20 points and eight rebounds.
The Mustangs took a 16-2 lead after nine minutes and led at halftime, 32-21. The Tigers scored the first six points of the second half and cut the deficit to 32-27, and it was down to two at 34-32 minutes later after a Lomax and one.
A few possessions later, Lomax converted a driving layup into the paint, swept the next SMU inbound play and found Duren, who fouled and made both free throws to make it 40-38 with 12 minutes to play.
But Memphis wouldn’t come close after that, and SMU ended the Tigers’ nine-game home conference winning streak.
Memphis shot 41.0 percent from the field in the game (25-61).
The Tigers travel to Tulsa to end the week Sunday at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN. Memphis then returns to FedExForum next Thursday, Jan. 27, against East Carolina at 8 p.m.
Tickets and mini-plans for 2021-22 are available online at www.GoTigersGoTix.com or by phone at (901) 678-2331.
- Memphis used the starting formation of Count Timberlake, Lester Quinone, Emoni Bates, Josh Minott and Jalen Duren for the second game in a row.
- This ended a streak of nine consecutive new starting lineups for the Tigers.
- Memphis has used 12 different starting lineups in 17 games this season.
- Memphis still leads the all-time series between the two schools, 15-14.
- SMU have won consecutive games, four of the last five and 10 of the last 13.
- Memphis had won nine straight AAC home games, dating back to a 56-49 loss to Tulsa on Dec. 21, 2020.
- Tyler Harris led the Tigers with 17 points.
- He’s topped the Memphis scoresheet in three of the last four games and has reached a team-high five times this year.
- The senior hit a 3-pointer, sending him past Jeremy Hunt (2002-07) in sole possession of fifth in Memphis’ career rankings (168).
- Jalen Duren grabbed nine rebounds for the second straight game to go along with 11 points.
- The freshman also blocked two shots, giving him at least one shot in each of the 15 games he has played this season.
- Alex Lomax tied season highs with five rebounds (2x, last at Tulane, 12/29) and four steals (vs. Western Kentucky, 11/19).
- His five assists in the game were just short of a season high (6, at Tulane, 12/29).