Alex Lomax

Alex Lomax runs up the court after making a steal against East Carolina on Feb. 19, 2020. Lomax ended with six points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block in the win over Houston Saturday afternoon.

The University of Memphis basketball team survives a thrilling game against the No. 22 Houston Cougars on Saturday afternoon by a score of 60-59. Memphis secured a huge win at home by beating the top team in the American in the Cougars as of right now.

“Amazing game for us, for a lot of reasons, Head Coach Penny Hardaway said. “Today we showed we were and what we could be for 40 minutes.”

The Tigers are trying to claw back into the top four teams in the standings so they can secure a first-round bye in the conference tournament. Here are three thinks that we right versus Houston. 

Free-Throw Shooting

Memphis all season has been a roller coaster ride at the charity strike. In multiple games this season they have missed 10 or more from the line and it has cost some games for them. 

“Free throws played a big part in the game today,” Memphis sophomore guard, Alex Lomax, said. “Going to the line at the end of the game, I had to make-up for the two I missed from early on.” 

Saturday’s game was a different story. Even though they missed nine free throws, they put up 30 for the game. Houston, on the other hand, put up just 12. So, putting up 18 more free throws than your opponent is a huge boost in ultimately winning the game. 

“Proud of my boy ‘A-Lo’ (Lomax) at the end hitting those big free throws.” Tyler Harris, Memphis sophomore guard, said during the postgame interview. 

Although Memphis most of time on offense stood in one spot while the ball-handler just created something from thin air, the Tigers still attacked the forwards of the Cougars. The hometown team shot 70 percent from the strike as a team. 

Turnovers Dying Down 

Other than the free-throw line, Memphis has been a team who turns the ball over at a high rate. On Saturday, that was not the case. The Tigers were the team who forced the turnovers on the Cougars. 

Houston turned the ball over 14 times, with 13 of them coming from their starters. Meanwhile for the first time all season long, the Tigers turned the ball over just eight times. 

That is showing major improvement in team that has been averaging an ugly 16.3 turnovers per game. They were able to cut their average in half against the Cougars. The big question is can they take it on the road here in this coming week?

Only time will tell. 

Malcolm Dandridge Dominates

The Big Freshman from Memphis, Malcolm Dandridge, had an outstanding game against Houston. He totaled 12 points, three steals and two blocks. Dandridge also had a couple of boards and assists.

“Very proud of the performance that Malcolm had today,” Hardaway said. 

He brings a huge inside presence to this team that freshman forward, Precious Achiuwa, brings as well, but Dandridge does not take enough shots like Achiuwa.

On Saturday, there was moments in the game where he was pleading sophomore guard, Alex Lomax, to get him the ball. Dandridge went a perfect 5-5 from the field, and three of the five were dunks. 

He is could be a huge piece towards a big puzzle if Hardaway can create more plays for him.

Overall

Memphis came home and took care of some big business. Now they go back on the road where they have not performed well in conference play. A beatdown in Tulsa and two close losses in Cincinnati and Connecticut. 

The Tigers will travel to Dallas and New Orleans to play SMU and Tulane. One of those games is going to be tough, and the other can be an easy one, but it will be up to them if they want to keep winning and improve their conference record. A race to the top-four teams in conference has started, can Memphis scratch their way up there? Time will only tell. 

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