Seniors Lead The Way on Super Bowl Sunday As Memphis Knocks Off Temple 86-77
Tigers Ride Big Days From DeAndre Williams, Kendrick Davis To Stay In The March Madness Hunt
UPDATE: DeAndre Williams was named AAC Player of the Week on Monday
Senior Forward DeAndre Williams put on a show on Super Bowl Sunday, both on the stat sheet and emotionally, as his Memphis Tigers (19-6, 9-3 AAC) beat the Temple Owls by 9 and won for the seventh time in their last eight games. Williams had 26 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists (7th Double Double this season) and continually led Memphis emotionally- pumping his squad up with emphatic big plays and boisterous screams and also sometimes settling them down in mid-game huddles with wisdom and calm. After the game, Williams said that an emphasis was “you’ve gotta’ protect home court,” and they did in an important conference win.
The Memphis Tigers next game is on Thursday (7 p.m., ESPN+) against UCF at FedExForum in Memphis
Cousy Award Finalist and Senior PG Kendrick Davis survived a rough shooting 1st Half and ended up with 21 points, 4 assists and 4 steals while controlling tempo the entire afternoon. He was at the heart of Memphis’ 9-0 run early in the 2nd Half that boosted the Tigers lead to 18. Davis ended up 2 points short of becoming the all-time leading scorer in the AAC. Davis is also very close to breaking the all-time records for Assists and Free Throws made. Late in the game, he showed off his elite handles. In one sequence, 20 extra seconds came off the clock late in the 4th Quarter as he juked guys with his stop and start dribbling. Former Georgia Southern star Elijah McCadden went 6 of 8 from the field, doubling his season average with 12 big points (plus 7 boards and 4 assists) and providing a solid 3rd scoring option all afternoon.
Temple went on a 16-2 surge late in the 3rd Quarter to cut the 18 point Memphis lead to 4 and the Tiger faithful were getting restless at Fed Ex Forum at 69-65. They were led by an outstanding game by Khalif Battle, who finished with 25 points including 4 big splash three pointers and was truly a handful for Memphis to guard all day. Hysier Miller also went off for 15-6 and 5 for the Owls (14-12, 8-5).
Coach Penny Hardaway had the challenge of an early 11am start, a 9-day layoff, the possible distraction of Davis chasing the all-time points record, his players looking forward to watching the Super Bowl and the upcoming Conference and NCAA Tournaments. But, Memphis kept things in front of them and led at halftime 36-33. Whatever Penny said at Halftime worked, because the Tigers really caught fire early in the 3rd scoring the first 7 points of the Half and finishing that run that took at 3 point margin to 18.
Memphis is now tied for 2nd Place in the AAC with Tulane and looking solid for a bid to March Madness. They still have two showdowns against #2 ranked Houston ahead, including this Sunday. Barring a late slip-up, they should be off the bubble right now and also will be strengthened with the return of Senior Guard Alex Lomax (out 8 games, groin injury).