The first half between the three seed Memphis Tigers and sixth seed Sand Diego Toreros was highlighted by runs from both sides. Memphis started the game off hot, led by Tyler Harris and his trio of threes. The Tigers found themselves on top of the Toreros 24-12 at one point, but then proceeded to give up a 8-0 run.
Penny Hardaway’s squad fought back with tough defense — they forced 10 turnovers in the first half — to pull ahead 37-30 at half.
This solid defense and offensive persistence continued throughout the majority of the first 12 minutes of the second half and helped the Tigers earn and maintain a double digit lead.
However, much like the first half, the Toreros fought back – led by their senior guard Olin Carter who caught fire from deep.
Every time the Tigers would make a run, the Toreros would punch back, but the trio of Tigers that led the team in scoring all season stepped up to the plate and continued to take it to punish San Diego.
In the last four minutes of the game, Memphis never took their foot off the gas. Their defense throughout the game helped them keep a safe distance from San Diego. They forced 22 turnovers in the game and also held San Diego’s leading scorer, Isaiah Pinero, to single digits for the only time this season.
Tigers earn their first post-season victory since 2014. Their next opponent will be the winner of Loyola-Chicago and Creighton.
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.
Header Image [Mark Weber, The Commercial Appeal]