After losing three straight games to begin February, the Tigers (15-11, 6-7 American Athletic Conference) got back on track with a grinding three-point win at Southern Methodist University Wednesday night. Mike Parks Jr. and Kareem Brewton Jr. combined for 33 points, eight assists and nine rebounds in the win. Memphis also shot 76 percent from the field in the second half.
Memphis has not won back-to-back conference games since winning four straight in the middle of January. Memphis will need to string together a few conference wins if they want to have any chance of a postseason appearance. Saturday’s game against a struggling Tulane (13-12, 4-9 AAC) team will provide an opportunity for Memphis to begin a much needed win streak.
A look at the opponent
After starting this season 12-4, Tulane has lost nine out of their last 12 games. The Green Wave are currently on a four-game losing streak. Memphis and Tulane met earlier this season, and the Tigers won 96-89 at home.
What to watch
The Tigers have been successful when they get their long-range shots to fall. Memphis has shot 30 percent or better from three in all six of their conference wins this season. The Tigers averaged 23 percent from three in all six of the losses in this calender year.
Memphis will likely once again rely on guard Jeremiah Martin. The junior is averaging 19.2 points per game this season. Martin gives life to the Memphis offense. He has scored 14 points or more in the last 10 games. Martin posted a season-high 33 points in the loss to East Carolina earlier in February.
Despite a sub-par record, Tulane is still averaging 75 points per contest, five points greater than Memphis’ average. Tulane’s poor perimeter defense will bode well for the Tigers’ three-point shooting. The Green Wave on average allow seven three-pointers per game.
The Memphis backcourt will look to pressure Tulane, who often struggles to take care of the basketball. Tulane averages 13 turnovers a game, and Memphis averages 15 points off turnovers.
Players to watch
Tulane guard Melvin Frazier
The 6-foot-6, 200 pound guard from New Orleans is one Tulane’s biggest scoring threats. Frazier is shooting 58 percent from the field and 38 percent from beyond the arc. He posted a career-high 28 points and five steals when he last faced the Tigers. Keeping him in check will be key to a Tigers win.
Memphis forward Kyvon Davenport
Davenport has become a vital part of this Memphis squad. He has started all 26 games for the Tigers, averaging 50 percent from the field and 13 points per game. Davenport leads the Tigers in rebounds per game with six, and he has a team-best 35 total blocks for the season. Davenport will likely have to be the one to provide a secondary scoring threat alongside Martin in Saturday’s matchup.
Kyvon Davenport goes under the defender to get off the shot in the paint. Davenport leads the team, along with teammate Jeremiah Martin, averaging 15.5 points per game.
Jeremiah Marin throws down a dunk on a fast break.