On Tuesday night, Temple came to town to face the Memphis Tigers in what would be a showcase of two of the top scoring players in the AAC — Shizz Alston and Memphis’ own Jeremiah Martin, who was averaging 30.7 points per game in February prior to the matchup.
Coming into the contest, Temple was average 74.9 points per game but the feisty Tigers forced the Owls to come up a bucket short of this mark. Temple was led on the offensive end by Shizz Alston, who had 22 points along with 5 assists on 6 of 17 shooting from the field, including 2 of 11 from three.
Also for the Owls, J.P. Moorman hauled in a double double with 14 points and 10 rebounds. The Tigers bench outscored Temple’s by ten, 23-13.
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The game started off slow and after the first media timeout, Memphis led 9-5 with all starters having contributed to the points column with the odd exception of Jeremiah Martin.
Memphis led by as much as 7 with 9:10 to play in the first half, but through clumsy decisions on offense, they found themselves down by 5 at halftime.
The differentiating factor between the two teams in the first half was the turnovers. Tigers coughed up the ball 12 times (4 by Tyler Harris) compared to just 5 by Temple.
Coach Penny Hardaway made a personnel adjustment at halftime and decided to send Antwann Jones out to start the second half in place of Mike Parks. This paid dividends for coach Hardaway as Jones brought increased energy and effort on both sides of the ball and led to a 8-0 run by the tigers to start the 2nd half.
Of course, Temple fought back with a run of their own and wouldn’t let the Tigers gain a sizeable lead. Similar to the start of the first, Martin took a few minutes to get the ball in the hoop. However, once he started, there was no stopping him.
Martin’s offense helped the Tigers gather momentum on both ends of the floor.
The main defensive catalysts for the Tigers were Alex Lomax, Antwann Jones, and Jeremiah Martin.
The game remained tight through the first trio of second half media timeouts.
In the final 6 minutes, the Tigers really kicked things into gear. Kyvon Davenport got things started with back to back buckets by way of a reverse layup and a three ball, which put Memphis up 8 with 5:41 remaining.
Two possessions later, Martin hit an AND-1 floater Mike Conley style and drained his free throw. This helped Memphis stretch their lead to 12 after a 9-0 run.
Martin was not done and added to his incredible month of February by kicking it into overdrive and scoring 10 consecutive Tiger points.
That was enough to put the Owls away and help the Tigers eek closer to earning a top four seed for the upcoming AAC Tournament, which would help them earn a first round bye.
Full boxscore HERE.
Penny’s decision to shift minutes to Antwann Jones — 10 points, 4 rebounds, 2/3 from three — helped change the momentum of the game.
Alex Lomax’s defense went a long way and shouldn’t be under appreciated in this contest.
Raynere Thornton hauled in over 25% (11) of the team’s rebounds in 37 minutes of play. He has shown himself to be a critical member of this Martin-led group.
Zak (@BarnBurnerBro) is a native Memphian who covers the Memphis Grizzlies, Tigers, and St. Louis Cardinals for The Barn. He spends his free time exploring breweries, restaurants, and leading the Ivan Rabb stan club.
Feature Image [Getty Images]