GAME NOTES: The Memphis Tigers will attempt to keep the ball rolling as they
head into Minges Coliseum for Conference USA action against the East Carolina
This will be the second meeting this season and 15th in history between the
Tigers and Pirates. Memphis coasted to a 67-54 victory over ECU on Jan. 9 to
extend its all-time series lead to 13-1.
The Tigers' win over ECU was part of their current 10-game winning streak that
grew on Saturday with a hard-fought, 73-72 decision over Marshall at home.
Josh Pastner's squad defeated Oral Roberts, Tennessee, Harvard, and Tulane by
much more comfortable margins prior to clipping the Thundering Herd. Memphis
has yet to lose in three true road tests and is also one of two undefeated
teams left in the C-USA standings.
Memphis is outscoring its opposition by an average margin of 9.9 points per
contest due to its strong core of talent. Joe Jackson is netting 13.9 points
and 4.5 assists per outing for Memphis while Adonis Thomas (10.7 ppg), Tarik
Black ( 9.7 ppg, 5.0 rpg), and Geron Johnson ( 9.6 ppg, 1.9 spg) also play
vital roles. Freshman forward Shaq Goodwin also makes a big impact due to the
tremendous inside presence he provides, which was very helpful against
Marshall's big man duo of Nigel Spikes and Dennis Tinnon.
Memphis held a four-point advantage thanks to clutch free throw shooting
before MU's DeAndre Kane connected on a 3-pointer at the buzzer to make it a
one-point final margin. Jackson finished with 16 points and five assists to
pace the squad, Thomas scored 15 points, and Shaq Goodwin added 11 points to
keep the winning streak alive.
The Pirates were defeated, 68-67, by Texas-El Paso at home on Saturday, which
dropped them to a 12-7 overall record, including their 3-3 mark in the league
standings. The setback was the second in three games, as they previously lost
by 21 points to Marshall and defeated UAB by six. Coach Jeff Lebo's squad has
been a problem for the opposition on its way to a C-USA leading 77.6 ppg.
Defensively, ECU has not been very impressive at all, allowing 70.7 ppg, which
is ranks 10th in the 12-team C-USA.
In the loss to the Miners, Miguel Paul tallied 20 points and four steals, Ty
Armstrong scored 13 points, and Maurice Kemp finished with 10 points, albeit
on just 3-of-13 from the field. Despite the poor showing against UTEP, Kemp
has made himself an early candidate for C-USA Player of the Year by producing
17.3 ppg to go along with a 7.8 rpg. Robert Sampson is an even more impressive
rebounder with 9.2 per contest, while Paul is second in the conference with
6.0 assists a game.
Although ECU will be playing the second installment of this season series in
its own backyard, it will still find it very difficult to tame the Tigers.
Memphis has only lost to Virginia Commonwealth, Minnesota, and Louisville this
season, all of which have appeared in the top 25. It appears that Southern
Miss, which is also undefeated in league action, may be the only school
capable of keeping up with the Tigers in the race for first place in C-USA.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 71, East Carolina 59
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