Tigers overwhelm Tennessee State

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Memphis built a huge, early first-half lead and never looked back as it completed its pre-holiday schedule with a lopsided victory Saturday at FedExForum over Tennessee State.

The UofM shot 60 percent, outrebounded TSU by 19 and placed six in double figures in the 99-41 victory before 15,378. It was Memphis’ largest margin of victory since a 104-60 win over Centenary eight years ago.

Senior guard Jeremiah Martin had 14 points to lead the UofM, Isaiah Maurice added 13 and Kyvon Davenport had 12 (along with 12 rebounds). Mike Parks and Antwann Jones scored 11 each and Kareem Brewton had 10.

Memphis (7-5) had a 30-point lead at the half and stretched it to 61 in the second half, before winning by 58.

Defensively, the UofM limited Tennessee State (3-8) to 10 field goals and 16 percent shooting in a dominating show. Memphis also blocked seven TSU shots.

“To hold a team to 41 points, I’m very excited about that,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “This is the way I thought we should have played from Day 1. The team is really starting to come around. We’re heading in the right direction. I’m very proud of this win.”

Brewton said the defensive play was a matter of “throwing different stuff at them and contesting all their shots.”

The UofM also benefited from another solid effort from its bench. The reserves scored 48 points, led by Maurice. Brewton added four assists and a steal to his 10 points.

“Coach is always saying he wants the second group to come off the bench with more energy,” Brewton said.

For the UofM, the outcome was never in doubt following a strong start. Holding TSU scoreless for nearly the first eight minutes of the game, Memphis built a 16-0 lead before allowing a field goal.

The UofM maintained its double-digit lead throughout the first half and extended it to 30 points (47-17) at the halftime buzzer as Martin dropped in a long 3-pointer.

Memphis shot 61.5 percent in the opening half – its best shooting half of the season – and made four of its seven 3-pointers. Maurice had matched his career-high of 11 points at the half. Martin scored 10.

TSU was limited to 14.7 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes, missing 29 of 34 attempts.

Memphis takes several days off for the holidays and resumes play Saturday at noon against Florida A&M.

–gotigersgo.com–