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Tigers roll to road win over Texas A&M

Terry Davis

College Station, Texas – On the road, against a good team and in a “very tough … environment,” the University of Memphis Tigers showed head coach Penny Hardaway what he wanted to see.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the squad,” said Hardaway after the Tigers (7-2) knocked off the No. 21-ranked Texas A&M Aggies (81-75) on Sunday afternoon.

“We hit the glass and outrebounded them and won the free throw game on the road. That is what you have to do to win in tough environments like this.”

The win featured what Hardaway said was “For sure” the best two halves in any single game for the Tigers this season.

“They did not rattle us. Good teams are going to go on a run. To put together two halves against a team like this, yes, that is the best two halves of the season.”

Point guard Jahvon Quinerly finished with 24 points, 5 assists and 4 rebounds.

“Today was a big win; a top 25 team on the road. You are going to feel good after these types of wins,” said Quinerly. “I think these (were) the best two halves of basketball we have played this year. We stuck to the game plan and executed it for 40 minutes.”

Jahvon Quinerly is in attack mode against the Aggies. (Photo: Terry Davis/The Tri-State Defender)

David Jones, who has been Memphis’ go-to player, scored 29 points along with 7 rebounds. He played with a brace on his right ankle after tweaking it in the win at VCU. He had 21 points in the first half.

“I just started making shots,” said Jones, who pointed to a key objective –“follow the game plan that coach Penny had put into play. He told me to keep shooting. I think that is why I think I got the team going in the second half. They (Texas A&M) were so focused on me.”

Head coach Penny Hardaway makes his pre-game entry. (Photo: Terry Davis/The Tri-State Defender)

Hardaway said Jones “was phenomenal. I am never worried about David coming to play. He made big shot after big shot. Every run they tried to make; it seems like he made the big bucket to end it.”

Quinerly called Jones “a bucket getter. Sometimes I look at him and say, ‘dang.’ I thought he was going to get 40 in the first half. He knows he is our go-to guy. We are just trying to get him to make the right plays.”

With the word out on Jones, he increasingly has become the key focus of the defensive gameplans employed by Memphis’ opponents.

“I watch film,” said Jones, detailing how he continues to be effective. “No matter how people guard you, as long as you get to your spots. If you know what to do on the court and work your game, I think you (don’t) have to rush. It will just come to you.”

Jayhlon Young takes flight for the Tigers. (Photo: Terry Davis/The Tri-State Defender)

Manny Obaseki led the Aggies (7-3) with 21 points and he was the only Texas A&M player to score in double digits. The Aggies were outrebounded by the Tigers (37-35) but had the scoring advantage (34-24) in the paint.

In the game against Ole Miss, the Tigers could not defend the three-pointer.  In the last game against VCU, the Tigers could not protect the offensive boards of the Rams.

“We did our combo work with our guards,” said Hardaway, explaining how the Tigers had addressed those troublesome areas. “We had to impose our will on them. We followed that game plan. This is the first time this season we put a game plan together that took out the opponents best two players.”

For David Jones and the Tigers, a win on the road against a ranked team amounted to satisfaction. (Photo: Terry Davis/The Tri-State Defender)

NOTES

*Jaykwon Walton (5 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists) and Caleb Mills (13 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist) both came off the bench for the second consecutive game.

*For the second consecutive road trip, Memphis center Jordon Brown did not travel with the team. During Friday’s media availability, Hardaway said Brown was sick. Later that day, it went viral that Jordan had played his last game for the Tigers.

After the game against the Aggies, Hardaway addressed the Brown news. “As far as I know he is just sick,” said Hardaway.

*The Tigers are wrapping up finals this week

*The Aggies lost to the Tigers in a close game (83-79) last year at FedExForum.

*Next up for the Tigers will be their first home game in nearly a month when they face the No. 13-ranked Clemson Tigers on Saturday (Dec. 16) at 2 p.m. The game can be seen nationally on ESPN.

 

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