The University of Memphis Tigers rolled into Moody Coliseum in Dallas on the momentum of much-needed victories over East Carolina and Houston and ran into an SMU team that sent them home with a 58-53 loss.
Hoping to keep their chances alive of achieving a first-round bye in the American Athletic Conference tournament, the Tigers (19-9, 9-7) fell to the Mustangs for the second team this season. SMU, which improved its record to 19-8, 9-7 in the AAC, defeated Memphis 74-70 on January 25.
With both teams fighting to get into the NCAA tournament, the Mustangs now have an advantage via the head-to-head matchup.
Here’s three takeaways from last night’s action, and what it all means for the Tigers going forward.
Tigers’ inability to make shots
The Tigers shot a mediocre 34 percent from the field. Besides forward Precious Achiuwa, who made 6 of 7 shots, the rest of the squad combined to go 12 of 46.
Freshman guard Boogie Ellis was 2 of 10 from the floor en route to 7 points, while sophomore guard Tyler Harris turned in a 1-7 shooting performance that netted 3 points. Freshman Damion Baugh did not score in 29 minutes, shooting 0-4 from the field in the process.
The Tigers, who shot a paltry 30 percent from the field in the first half, must improve their shot making to bounce back Saturday against Tulane.
Tigers could not make threes either
Subpar in making two-point shots, the Tigers weren’t raining threes either. Memphis shot 24 percent (5-21) from the three-point line. Boogie Ellis, Lance Thomas, Alex Lomax, and Baugh combined to go 0-8 from deep.
Lester Quinones hit four three-pointers for the Tigers, while Tyler Harris contributed one. Defensively, Memphis did hold SMU to 2 of 21 from beyond the arc.
More turnovers, same result
Memphis’ season-long problem with turnovers was evident yet again. The Tigers turned the ball over 21 times, with five from Alex Lomax and three miscues each from Ellis, Malcolm Dandridge and Quinones.
Last night’s loss added to the likelihood that the Tigers might have to win out to make the NCAA tournament. The remainder of the regular season includes a visit to Tulane, a home contest vs Wichita State and a road game against Houston.