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Men’s Basketball takes on UAB and Mercer

The University of Memphis men’s basketball team has rebounded after losing their first game to Alabama. The Tigers are on a three game win-streak averaging 69 points per game in the process.

They defeated Little Rock by eight, held New Orleans to 53 points and edged out Northern Kentucky 76-74. Memphis has their first away game at the University of Alabama at Birmingham tonight, followed by a home game against Mercer on Saturday.

A look at the opponent:

The UAB Blazers are 4-3 through their first seven games. They started the season with three straight wins against Jacksonville, Chattanooga and Lemoyne-Owen. The Blazers proceeded to compete in the Cayman Islands Classic and failed to win any of the three games. The Blazers have shot 48 percent from the field and average 83 points per game.

Mercer defeated troy 77-73 in the first game of the season before losing at UCF 79-88. The Bears won their next four games and lost to Colorado in the final of the 2017 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam. Mercer beat Hiwassee College 90-53 in their last game and will face Tennessee before they play Memphis on Saturday.

What to watch for:

            The Tigers shot under 40 percent in one game this season and lost by 12 to Alabama. The offense looks different since the loss. The Tigers are shooting 45 percent from the field and 31 percent from three, in the three-game win streak.

The Jeremiah Martin and Jimario Rivers tandem has led to success. Martin scored 10 points in the loss to Alabama. He is shooting 48 percent from the field and averaging 19 points per contest since the loss.

Rivers had a slow start to the season and only scored 14 points through the first two games. He made a turnaround and led the team in scoring in the previous two games. He scored 18 against New Orleans and 17 in the win over Northern Kentucky.

UAB is a solid rebounding team and Memphis struggles in this area. The Blazers have out-rebounded opponents 42 to 29 per game, while the Tigers have out-rebounded opposing teams 35 to 33.

Mercer is a defensive minded team and is 28th in the nation in scoring defense, holding opponents to 61.1 points per game. The Bears have forced 113 turnovers and average seven steals per game this season.

Players to watch:

Mercer G, Ria'N Holland

            The senior guard is Mercer’s leading scorer, averaging 20.2 points per game. Holland is a threat from deep. He is 21st in the nation in 3-point field goals per game (3.5) and is 21 of 37 from deep this season.

UAB F, Chris Cokley

            Cokley is UAB’s leading scorer averaging 18 points a game. He is shooting 60 percent from the field and is ranked 21st in rebounds per game (10.3). Cokley posted season-high 26-points and 5 assists versus Jacksonville.

Memphis F, Kyvonn Davenport

            The junior transfer has posted double-digit points in all four games this season. Davenport’s 15 points and 11 rebounds was the only bright spot in the Tiger’s loss to Alabama. The forward is shooting 54 percent from the field, averaging 13.5 points and 6.3 rebounds.

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