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David Jones Hits Game-Winner as Memphis Snaps Losing Streak

Memphis snapped a 4-game losing skid with a 65-63 win over the Wichita State Shockers Saturday afternoon. David Jones led the Tigers to a comeback win, scoring 26 points and hitting the game winner to keep Memphis’ NCAA tournament hopes alive.

The Tigers struggled in the first half, shooting only 30% from the floor with little help from the free throw line. Outside of David Jones’ 10 first half points, only 3 of the 11 other players (Walton 5, Dandridge 3, and Tomlin 5) who got first half minutes scored. Turnovers also continued to be an issue as they surrendered the ball 12 times while only racking up 6 assists in the half. 

Wichita State did not have the most efficient half shooting only 30% from the field as well, but they got to the line 6 times and hit 9-12 of their free throws. Turning the ball over only once, possession was key for the Shockers. While being statistically outplayed on the offensive side, the Shockers’ defense (12 forced turnovers, 5 blocks, 6 steals) allowed them to take 30-24 lead into the half. 

Things got worse before they got better in the second half for the Tigers, as they trailed the Shockers by as many as 14 points and seemingly couldn’t keep up. Shockers guard Colby Rogers looked to put his foot on the Tigers neck, shooting 4-5 from the field and being a perfect 3-3 from behind the arc. 

With under 7:26 left in the game, the Tigers were down 43-56 and the prospects of coming back and snapping the streak were bleak. However, head coach Penny Hardaway said one timeout changed the game. 

“Usually, our huddles are all kind of crazy, there a lot of things going on, but this huddle was different.” said Hardaway. “This huddle was looking each other in the eyes saying don’t quit, and it happened.” 

It happened indeed, as the Tigers finished the game with energy fans haven’t seen since the team was ranked top 10 in the nation. Star F/G David Jones scored 16 of his 26 points in the last 7:39 minutes of the game to aid the comeback, and Jahvon Quinerly hit a big three with 44 seconds left in the game to put the Tigers up 63-62.  

Shockers forward Ronnie Degray III got fouled on the other end of the court with 16 seconds left in the game and had a chance to put his team up by one but went 1-2 at the line. The Tigers took a timeout with 12 seconds remaining in the game. David Jones came around a screen and hit a mid-range jumper with 2 seconds left to win the game. 

The Tigers will now look to get another win at Temple on Thursday before they enter arguably their hardest stretch of the season, playing against UNT, FAU twice, SMU, and Tulane. All of these teams are near the top of the conference. If Memphis wants to keep any hope alive of earning an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament, they’ll have to do really well going into March.

For now, they’ll use this much-needed win to prepare for what’s to come. 

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