Shorthanded Tigers Fall at No. 2 Houston
HOUSTON, Texas - The Memphis Tigers went into the Fertitta Center Sunday afternoon shorthanded and gave No. 2 Houston all it could handle, but ultimately dropped a 72-64 decision.
The Tigers fell to 20-7 overall and 10-4 in American Athletic Conference play, while the Cougars improved to 25-2 and 13-1.
Elijah McCadden continued his strong play with a season-high 20 points and six rebounds, while DeAndre Williams added 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting. Damaria Franklin also had his best game in a Tiger uniform with a season-high 10 points and five boards.
Alex Lomax made his return to the floor after being sidelined since the second half at UCF on Jan. 11.
It was a defensive battle early on with the game tied 13-13 at the 9:03 mark of the first half. Houston got a three-pointer and used a 9-0 run to take the lead for the remainder of the game.
The offense struggled in the first half holding on to the ball, turning it over 14 times to go into the breakdown 32-21. Williams led the team with 10 points in the first 20 minutes.
In the second half, McCadden took over for the Tigers scoring all 20 of his points. He scored six early points as he and Franklin nailed back-to-back triples to bring Memphis to within four at 38-34 with 16 minutes to play.
From there, Houston pushed its advantage out to 13 and looked to be on its way to victory. But the Tigers never faltered. The defense tightened up and held the Cougars without a field goal for nearly four minutes as the Tigers chipped away at the free-throw line.
McCadden hit three at the stripe before Williams went coast-to-coast to lay it in and pull Memphis to within 63-58 with 2:24 on the clock. That would be as close it would get.
Houston hit nine free throws over the final two minutes to secure the 72-64 win.
J’Wan Roberts led the Cougars with 20 points and 12 rebounds, while Marcus Sasser also added 20.
The Tigers stay on the road Thursday with a trip to Wichita State at 6 p.m. on ESPN2. They will then return to FedExForum next Sunday to host Cincinnati at 1 p.m.
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