With only seven seconds to go on the shot clock, Ricky Tarrant dribbled to the top of the key. He tried to make a move on his defender to clear some space, but it didn’t work. The senior point guard resorted to an off balance, desperation thee-pointer from NBA range. After one-bounce, the shot was good.
That was the kind of night it was for Memphis, as it put together its best and most complete performance of the young season in a 94-68 win over Louisiana Tech at FedExForum Tuesday night before an announced crowd of 11,114.
“Overall this was a good effort from our young men,” Memphis coach Josh Pastner said, after his team improved to 4-2 on the season. “We were locked in and we had energy. We had talked about three keys to the game, and we did a great job of limiting fast-break points, we did a good job of taking care of the ball, and making sure we attacked the paint. Overall we just played well.”
Memphis now leads the all-time series with the Bulldogs, 3-2. Five different Tigers reached double-figures in scoring in the victory. Senior big man Shaq Goodwin led the way with an 18-point, 12-rebound performance.
Tarrant added 19 points and three assists. Sophomore guard Markel Crawford continued his strong play with 13 points and nine rebounds, to go along with stellar defense against Louisiana Tech’s star guard Alex Hamilton. Avery Woodson shot 5-11 from the field, adding 13 points, three rebounds, and two assists, and the Tigers also got a double-double from senior forward Trahson Burrell (10 points and 11 rebounds).
Memphis dominated the Bulldogs in almost every major statistical category. The Tigers won the rebounding battle 48-32, and posted 21 assists on 32 made baskets.
The Tigers also shot 47.8 percent from the field, 71.4 percent from the free-throw line and an impressive 43.5 percent from behind the arc, even though they entered the game as one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country.
Goodwin said his team’s strong shooting helped him in the paint tonight.
“It helps me a lot,” he said. “It gives our offense a chance of getting a lot of spacing. Our speed can be used to our advantage. Just like Ricky (Tarrant) said first couple of weeks our shots were not falling and we have to continue to work on shooting to get better.”
Offense wasn’t the only area of success for the Tigers, as Memphis controlled the pace and energy the entire game. Memphis’ defense was on another level tonight, as the Tigers allowed Louisiana Tech to shoot just 38.3 percent form the field and 30 percent from three-point range. Memphis also forced 13 turnovers.
Goodwin said the focus coming into the game was all defense and it paid off for Memphis.
“We came into this game knowing they were guard heavy,” he said. “We knew they could score the basketball. Our main objective was how many stops we can get on the defensive end. We got eight stops in a row and our motto is seven, so our effort was strong.”
This was Louisiana Tech’s first loss of the 2015 season. Hamilton led the way for the Bulldogs with 18 points and four rebounds. Junior forward Erik McCree added 14 points and six rebounds.
The Tigers will return to action Saturday at 6 p.m., as they host Southeast Missouri State at FedExForum.
Memphis senior forward Shaq Goodwin (left) led the way for the Tigers with 18 points and 12 rebounds in its 94-68 win over Louisiana Tech Tuesday night.