The University of Memphis basketball team (17-5,6-3 American Athletic Conference) played a great game against the Temple Owls (11-11,3-7 AAC) on Wednesday as they won 79-65. It was the Tigers third straight win and a newfound confidence heading into the stretch run of the regular season.
Here are 3 things that stood out in the game against Temple.
Defense, Defense, Defense
The Tigers defense was the main bright spot during Wednesday’s game against the Owls. The home team held Temple to 34 percent from the field and 28 percent from the three-point line.
The defense swallowed the Owls for most of the night as the Tigers allowed just five points in the last six minutes of the first half.
Memphis was very stingy at the rim. They blocked six shots in total for the game. Malcolm Dandridge, Precious Achiuwa and Lance Thomas all got in the action. The Tigers also recorded seven steals in the game - of which Thomas had two of them.
“Momentum of the game on defense help me, and reading the defense was big for me offensively,” Dandridge said.
Thomas did not have a good night offensively, but he was active on the defensive end of the court.
Lester Quinones' Hot Shooting
The freshman guard out of Brentwood, NY has had a season full of ups and downs. However, in the game against the Owls, he showed up.
Lester Quinones went for 45 percent from the field and 44 percent from the three-point line. He started the game hot and never really looked back.
“Coach told me to shoot when I am open, and don’t pass it up when I am open," Quinones said.
This bright spot only needs to continue if Memphis want to keep piling on wins here in this stretch run. This is just a piece to a much bigger puzzle for Memphis. The Tigers are looking for a masterpiece finish, but it starts with this piece being consistent.
In the current three-game winning streak, Quinones has been shooting over 48 percent from the field and 34 percent from deep.
Confidence Turning Into Wins
The Tigers have won three straight since their two straight meltdowns against Tulsa and SMU. Players like Thomas and Boogie Ellis have come from having a struggling start to becoming late season starters and key players in the stretch run.
“I feel like we are a really, really good team, and I knew it was going to take a while, but a lot of guys are stepping up,” Achiuwa said.
Lance has averaged over 15 points per game and three rebounds per game during the three-game winning streak.
On the other hand, Ellis has averaged over 12 points per game in his last four games.
The two role guys have been an important part to the recent success for Memphis. They are shooting the ball with confidence and playing with more will to make a difference for this team down the stretch.
The Tigers are hot right now and are catching this flame at the right time. After Saturday’s game against South Florida, they go back on the road. The road has not been nice too Memphis, but winning recently can bring a lot of hope to a basketball team.
Memphis will travel to Cincinnati and UConn - two big road tests for these young Tigers.
Lester Quinones being physical inside the paint. Quinones ended with 21 points and four assists in last night's 79-65 win over Temple.