Thursday, May 26

Memphis hits the road against UCF

After an unexpected delay, Memphis hopes to play its second game with its new offense, this time against American Athletic Conference rival UCF in Orlando.

The Tigers (6-4, 2-1 AAC) last played on December 29, a 58-57 home win over South Florida. It was the first game under coach Penny Hardaway’s “lion’s game” offense, and Memphis’ game at Temple on Saturday was postponed due to COV ID-19 issues with the Owls program.

The goal of the Tigers’ new offense is to get everyone involved and “move at all times, without anyone getting stuck,” Hardaway said.

The constant movement and emphasis on crashing the boards didn’t show up as a hit in numbers, with the Tigers finishing roughly on their average points and 12 rebounds less than usual, but point guard Alex Lomax was singing his praise.

” I felt like we got a lot of easy points that we don’t normally get. Those are the kinds of points that we need. There were a lot of different options open today that we didn’t see. So, I felt like, once we figure them out, and everyone starts paying attention to the offense, plays and reads, we’ll get even easier points, “Lomax said.

Hardaway said the lion team, which he has installed on other teams he has coached over the past 12 years, will have a long career.

” What we have now, we’ll keep. We’re just going to make wrinkles. Teams are going to make adjustments to everything that we run, and we just have to keep hanging our hat on the defensive side, pushing further,” Hardaway said.

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Landers Volley I I leads Memphis with 13.3 points per game, with DJ Jeffries and DeAndre Williams with 11.7 each. Lester Quinones, who led the Tigers with 13 points in the win over South Florida, has 10.4 per game.

Expectations were high starting this season, with Memphis chosen to finish second behind only Houston in the AAC preseason poll. Freshman 6-foot-10 center Moussa Cisse was the preseason pick for rookie of the year. In 19 minutes per game, he averages seven points and 7.8 rebounds, leading the team.

UCF (3-3, 1-2), the preseason pick to finish eighth in the 11-team AAC, also comes off a showdown with South Florida, but the Knights lost 68-61 to the host Bulls in Tampa on Saturday.

The Knights led 35-34 at halftime, but were outscored 34-26 in the second half.

” They were a more physical team,” UCF coach Johnny Dawkins said of the Bulls. “That’s shown by points in the paint (34-24) and second-chance points (21-8), and we led those stats at halftime.”

Brandon Mahan, who entered the game averaging 20.5 points, was limited to two, on just three field goal attempts. His average of 17.5 points was third in the AAC through the weekend.

” The biggest adjustment for a guy who’s becoming the kind of scorer he’s been in the last four or five games is to stay aggressive, understand that you can’t lose yourself in the game,” Dawkins said.

Darin Green Jr. is averaging 12.8 points per game, followed by Isaiah Adams and Darius Perry with 11.8 each. Perry led the Knights with 23 against South Florida.

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Adams, a first-year forward, missed the game and his status for Tuesday night is unclear.

–Field level media

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