“He was getting down during the game and that’s exactly what I told him. I was like never forget you’re a killer. That’s what you do.”

Penny Hardaway got exactly what he wanted and needed Thursday night.

The game’s best player taking over when the game was on the line and it’s because of Kendric Davis that the Tigers avoided a costly loss to open conference play.  Memphis rallying from ten down in the final minutes to knock off South Florida.

Davis scoring 14 of his 24 points in the final seven minutes as the U of M closed the game on a 19 to 5 run where Davis… did it all.

He hit big shots.

He came up with timely steals.

He made winning plays.

It’s why Hardaway brought Davis to Memphis and why Davis came here.

He wanted to play for Penny, knowing he’d get that extra push when it mattered most.

“It just lit something in me. Most times you don’t got to light it in me. It’s in me but we human and sometimes you need that and he gave it to me,” Davis said.  “That’s just who I am. I play best when I’m like. Alo tells me that all the time to, like, just be you, man. Just go out there and be a dog. Like, be a killer. I needed coach, our leader, to give me a little confidence. He did that.”

“He’s a closer and that’s the blessing of having him on your team. He’s been doing this his entire career, at SMU and you always know that he has that type of run in him,” said Hardaway.  “I’ve been kind of holding him back a little bit to try to make him make plays. But when it gets winning time, you got to let him go.”

Davis and the Tigers tip off the New Year, Sunday in New Orleans against Tulane.