MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The 83rd edition of the Memphis-Cincinnati rivalry did not disappoint, with a second half that had 12 lead changes and six ties and an electric crowd at FedExForum helping the Tigers overcome a deficit with a minute to play and earn an 87-80 win over the Bearcats Sunday afternoon.
The win is Memphis’ third-straight and fourth in the last five games. The Tigers are now 9-5 overall and 3-1 in American Athletic Conference action on the year. The Tigers have won nine-straight AAC home games and 14 of their last 15 games overall at FedExForum.
Tyler Harris led the Tigers with 20 points, and he made multiple winning plays down the stretch. Lester Quinones added 18, and reigning AAC Freshman of the Week Josh Minott had his first-career double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Seven of his boards came on the offensive glass. Emoni Bates, in his first game since Dec. 14 against No. 6/8 Alabama, scored 12 points, had seven rebounds and dished out six assists.
Cincinnati took an 80-79 lead with 55 seconds to go, forcing the Tigers to call a timeout to regroup. Harris came down and hit a jumper in the paint to give the Tigers an 81-80 advantage with 40 ticks left, and the Memphis defense then forced two Cincinnati misses. Landers Nolley II grabbed the rebound and was fouled, and he hit both free throws to make the score 83-80 in favor of the Tigers with 19 seconds to go.
Harris made his presence known on the defensive end on the next possession with Cincinnati trying to tie the game, picking off a pass and drawing a foul with just three seconds remaining. Harris hit both free throws, and he made two more free throws in the final two seconds to bring the game to its final score of 87-80.
The Tigers overcame Cincinnati (11-5, 1-2 AAC) hitting 16 3-pointers, nine over its per-game average entering the contest. The Bearcats were led by Jeremiah Davenport’s 21 points on 7-of-10 3-point shooting.
Memphis committed just 11 turnovers Sunday afternoon, matching its season low which came at Georgia on Dec. 1.
The Tigers ended the game shooting 47.7 percent from the field (31-65) and made nine 3-pointers of its own. Memphis was 16-of-19 from the free throw line in the game (.842) and made 12-of-14 in the second half (.857).
Memphis had a 41-31 advantage on the glass.
The Tigers hit the road next week to UCF on Wednesday and East Carolina on Saturday. Memphis’ next home game is Thursday, Jan. 20 against SMU.