Tigers talk togetherness after opening win at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt guard Tyrin Lawrence, left, and Memphis forward DeAndre Williams battle for the ball...
Vanderbilt guard Tyrin Lawrence, left, and Memphis forward DeAndre Williams battle for the ball in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Monday, Nov. 7, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)(Mark Humphrey | AP)
Published: Nov. 8, 2022 at 8:07 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Compared to previous teams with all their heralded recruiting classes, there really wasn’t any buzz around this year’s version of the Memphis Tigers Men’s Basketball team heading into the season that might prove to be a welcome change, because after Monday night’s dismantling of Vanderbilt in the opener on the road, this team might not need hype to show it’s pretty darn good.

The Tigers, a collection of 5th-year seniors and upper-class transfers, stormed into Memorial Gym in Nashville and proceeded to sink the Commodores in their own sweltering arena, with 76-67 in the final.

And, the game was not that close.

Everything we’d reported about the nation’s top transfer, guard Kendric Davis from SMU, proved true.

The reigning American Athletic Conference player of the year worked as a calming influence on offense, as smooth in his decisions as he was in his stroke with 16 points and a game-high 6 assists to go along with three rebounds and two steals.

DeAndre Williams, the Tigers’ glue factor for the past three years, led the way with 17 points, on 7 of 11 from the field, to go along with five rebounds, three assists, and a couple of swipes.

The UofM jumped out to as much as a 17-point lead, also thanks to the play of Sr. Alex Lomax. The former East High star produced his first career double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Tigers Head Coach Penny Hardaway says the 11-point victory is a product of the stress and strain of preparation.

”For those guys to come in this environment, in a gym that was extremely hot, and come in here and fight... man, that’s Big Memphis all the way right there,” Hardaway said. “That’s love. That’s representing the city at the highest level. And I couldn’t be more proud.”

”It felt like a more-together team,” said Tigers forward DeAndre Williams. “It wasn’t a lot of chaos, there wasn’t a lot of complaining on the bench. it was just ‘next play’ mentality. It definitely gave us the energy to come out and play for each other. And that was the energy for us to go out and get a gutsy win like that.”

“It almost didn’t feel like a road win in moments out there.’ said Tigers point guard Alex Lomax. “The fans came, they showed a lot of love. We really appreciate the love the fans showed. That’s probably the best thing Tiger Nation could ask for. Just hearing that love and knowing we got that support, I was just glad to bring home the W to the city.”

The Tigers now have a week to get ready for the next game at the Atlantic 10 against Saint Louis University next Tuesday night.

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