Tulsa Unleashes a Hurricane on Tiger Hoops’ Win Streak — Bench? What Bench?

Y’all know the point in every superhero or epic war movie ever where everyone is getting their asses kicked and all seems lost shortly before some fiery catalyst emerges on the scene and turns the tide?

Yeah, that’s not what happened here.  Instead, the bench was getting its ass kicked, kept getting its ass kicked, and then nothing really changed regarding the ongoing ass kicking, and the Memphis Tigers (13-7, 4-3 AAC) were defeated 64-51 by the Tulsa Hurricanes (11-9, 4-4) on a quiet Saturday evening in Oklahoma (so, like, every evening in Oklahoma).

What The Damn Hell Happened?

The night started out on a seemingly good foot.  The squad was loose and confident during pre-game warm-ups.

Tigers were riding high on a four game winning streak.  On the sadder end of the spectrum, since losing to Memphis at Memphis on Dec. 6, the Golden Hurricanes had suffered three more losses, making this game an oddly symmetrical battle — one team fighting to continue a streak, and the other battling to end one.

Spoiler alert: the Tigers lost and never seemed to find their rhythm, having to fight from behind after Tulsa punched Memphis in the mouth early, going up 30-17 mid-way through the first half.  The Tigers fell in love with the long ball, which is like Danika Patrick trying to teach Drivers Ed.

The lone bright spot for the Tigers was F Kyvon Davenport, who posted 21 and 10 and seemed to be the only Tiger able to get anything going.  Standout guard, Jeremiah Martin, on the other hand, struggled mightily, scoring 14 points (on an inefficient 5-14) and turning the ball over 5 times to his meager 2 assists.  It’s evident that if Martin doesn’t play like an All American, this team ain’t going to snag many Ws.

Mike Parks Jr. aka Lil Shaq had it going early, but the Tigers failed to consistently get him the ball in his comfort spots.  Parks ended with only 11 points, but he did so on 5 of 7 shots.  If something’s working, why not keep going to it?  By the way, check out this frankly astounding article about Parks being homeless prior to this season.

Tulsa’s theoretical best player, big-man bruiser Junior Etou finished with a basically non-existent game of only two points in 24 minutes played.  *Extremely 30 For 30 voice* “What if told you that Tulsa’s best player would suck ass but the Tigers would STILL LOSE.”

Hmmm, you don’t have to be Carmen Sandiego to know why…

The Bench Did What?

Ain’t no sunshine where there’s this amount of shade.  I’m all for a nice dig at Tubby’s staff — which,  unless they hired The Dude from The Big Lebowski, couldn’t be any lazier — but this wasn’t just a case of an under-performing bench.  Here, the bench scored ZERO POINTS.  You read that correctly.  Though the reserves played a collective total of 48 minutes and launched seven FG attempts, they managed to put the ball through the metal hoop exactly no times.

Memphis F, Jimario Rivers, whose play has already been slipping as of late, is especially concerning, playing 24 minutes, missing the two shots he put up, and only grabbing 2 boards.  Like, Rivers should have to TRY to be this terrible.  How do you play near the post and end up with a laughable two rebounds?  That’s a rhetorical question, folks, because that’s simply a trash stat line.

Meanwhile, Tulsa G DaQuan Jeffries, coming OFF THE BENCH, hung 24 points on the Tigers, shooting 3-4 from downtown and grabbing 11 rebounds (despite standing at only 6’5″).  In the Battle of the Benches, the Golden Hurricanes certainly whirled forcefully — a little hurricane pun for y’all’s asses.

Uh Oh, Jeremiah…

In the second, Martin drove to the bucket in transition and collided hard with a Tulsa player.  As Jeremiah lay on the floor clutching his hip and had to be helped off the court, I couldn’t help but think:

As for Martin’s medical diagnosis:

Do we think this is “just a bruise” like Mike Conley’s Achilles tendon is a “little sore” and Marc Gasol’s foot was “cramping a bit” a few seasons ago?  Only time will tell, but one thing I do know is this Memphis team’s season completely depends on the health of Jeremiah Martin.

Seal Team Commentators:

For some bizarre reason, the commentators for this game called the game remotely.  In other words, they watched the game on a TV and chirped about it like your grumpy-ass Great Uncle Gary from his La-Z-Boy recliner while crushing Bud Heavies.  I’m not sure how generally common this is, but it’s clear the AAC (or ESPN, with which the AAC has a television contract) wasn’t willing to spend the money to fly commentators to Tulsa for this game.  Taken a step further, one might surmise that ESPN doesn’t give a shit about two mediocre teams in what’s often touted as a mediocre conference.

Next Man Up:

After the game, Tubby called the loss “demoralizing.”  Maybe an overstatement.  The season is still young, but this loss certainly isn’t a gold star on a resume of a team already struggling to put its best foot forward to the tournament committee.

The Tigers have a week off before hosting #12 Cincinnati at home in the FedEx Forum on Saturday (1/27) at 5pm CST.

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[Banner Photo courtesy of the fantastic Mark Weber of The Commercial Appeal]

2 comments

  1. ESPN has actually had commentators doing games remotely for a couple of years. It’s not just an AAC thing but it is usually for less important games (and Memphis is unfortunately involved in a lot of those now), even in power conferences. I think most games on ESPN3 and some on ESPN News called remotely now.

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