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Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Memphis Tigers dominate with defense, beat University of Charlotte, 72-56

The University of Memphis basketball team faced the Charlotte 49’ers in a crucial American Athletic Conference battle. Entering the game, Charlotte boasted an impressive 11-2 conference record. The Tigers, however, controlled the game throughout, securing a 72-56 victory.

“I am proud of the bounce back we gave today,” said Coach Penny Hardaway. “We followed the game plan to a tee. We brought physicality and toughness for the first time in a long time.”

Hardaway emphasized that he expects this type of effort going forward.

“It is not optional anymore,” he said. “If you are going to play, (if) you are going to be on the floor, (you have to play hard). If not, you are going to be on the bench. Every practice is going to be hard.”

The Tigers displayed a fighting spirit reminiscent of their victories over top-25 ranked teams earlier this season. In the first half, they looked determined to revive their NCAA tournament hopes, ending the half with a 40-35 lead despite Charlotte shooting 57 percent and making 5 of 9 three-pointers.

Memphis’s defensive efforts were key, limiting Charlotte to 21 shots and forcing 9 turnovers in the first half. The Tigers themselves shot 44 percent.

In the second half, Memphis continued to apply pressure, starting with an 8-0 run and never relented. They held Charlotte to just 17 points in the half.

“In the first half, we were slow on rotation… In the second half, we took it away,” he said of the Tigers’ defensive adjustments. “We haven’t been disruptive, because there wasn’t full buy-in. There is now, and the sky is the limit for us now.”

Charlotte, led by Igor Milicic with 16 points and 5 rebounds, struggled against Memphis’s intensity. The Tigers outrebounded Charlotte 38-20.

For the Tigers, Jahvon Quinerly scored 17 points with six assists, and Nae’Qwan Tomlin added 16 points and seven rebounds. David Jones contributed 10 points before leaving the game due to an eye injury.

Tomlin reflected on his recent form: “It has definitely been frustrating… In the last couple of games, I have been able to get back into a groove.”

Joe Cooper, a walk-on from Olive Branch, continued to show his dedication to the team, contributing 3 points against Charlotte.

The Tigers now prepare for a significant matchup against Florida Atlantic on Sunday at 1 pm at the FedExForum, broadcast nationally on ESPN. The last encounter between these teams in the NCAA tournament saw FAU advancing to the Final Four.

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