While the Memphis basketball team’s newly adopted offensive scheme – dubbed the « lion » by coach Penny Hardaway – didn’t result in a drastically improved attack Tuesday, the Tigers did it.
Alex Lomax and DeAndre Williams’ performances in the second half helped Memphis close a double-digit deficit in less than 10 minutes and exit FedExForum with a 58:57 win over South Florida.
But the former East High star had nowhere near met her in the first nine games. Lomax averaged less than four points and looked lost, outperforming most of the time on the floor.
But Lomax, who lost to Tulsa last week, saved the Tigers when the Bulls were about to take the game out of reach.
With the Tigers 46:34 behind in less than 10 minutes, Lomax picked up a bad pass from David Collins. He layup, was fouled, and took the free throw to reduce the deficit to single digits.
Lomax’s frantic game kicked off Memphis, who ran a 22-6 run that took it to 55-52 in 2:03 after Lester Quinones sank a layup after another theft from Lomax.
Less than a minute later, after Williams extended the Tigers lead to 27-23, Murphy, ball in hand, broke for the goal in full steam. Not even Moussa Cisses 6-10 frame and 7-4 wingspan could stop him.
Murphy dropped the hammer on Cisse’s outstretched right arm, causing a violent reaction from USF’s bank. The dunk set off a stretch for the bulls where they walked 9 of 13 off the field and built a 46-34 lead.
Murphy finished the game with 20 points for USF, without striker Alexis Yetna (lower leg strain). .
The Bulls, who were 13 seconds to go 58-57, called a time-out. The ball immediately went to Murphy and never left his hands until he attempted a shot.
But when Lomax defended, Murphy’s attempt was unbalanced and the shot was blocked by D.. J. . Jeffries. The ball slowly rolled toward the baseline as the last few seconds ticked. Before the ball went out of play, the clock ran out.
But it was as good on Tuesday as it was all season. Quinones gave Memphis the lead twice in the last five minutes with their only 3-pointers in the game. The first came at 4:56 to play and line up the Tigers 51-48.
Then, with 1:08 remaining, Quinones fell from the right wing to another to gain a 58-55 Memphis lead. Quinones, who led the Tigers with 13 points, was 2-4 from the deep. Lander’s Nolley II, who had 10 points, also hit a pair of 3-pointers in four attempts. The rest of the team was 7-0.
Williams, who played as Tiger in his third game after being forced to skip the first seven due to NCAA transfer rules, made the most of his time late on the ground.
The former Evansville star had four of his five steals and one of his two blocks. Memphis turned Williams’ four late steals into six points.
Memphis Tigers Men’s Basketball, NCAA American Athletic Conference Football, South Florida Bulls Men’s Basketball, Penny Hardaway, Basketball
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