Memphis will finally usher in the new calendar year on Sunday afternoon when hosts Tulsa go to court.
A lot has happened since the Tigers (6-4 total, 2-1 American Athletic Conference) last played and recorded a 58-57 win over South Florida on December 29th, just not on the actual basketball court.
Coach Penny Hardaway’s team have postponed the last three games in a row, most recently against SMU on Thursday, postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing protocol in the Mustangs program.
“It’s not the worst because the season could end again like last year. We understand that we are in a pandemic and this is happening,” Hardaway said. “That’s what you have to ride. I’m glad we have another season. We just didn’t think it would be three games in a row.”
Memphis is returning to Tulsa for the first time since its daunting 80-40 setback on Jan. 22, 2020. Since then, the Tigers have dropped a 56-49 decision against the Golden Hurricane on December 21st.
“We deserved this butt-whipping (last season). Man, it was embarrassing,” said Hardaway. “Then it was very disappointing to come back here and have the game under control and then lose it at home. We know we gave one away. But the size came from this game. The new offense, the different attitudes of the guys Understanding how it is hard to win in this league – everything went to another level.
“We have to do to them what they did to us.”
Landers Nolley II, who averages the top 13.3 points per game, scored just 2 in 10 hits from the ground – including 2 out of 9 from 3-point range – against Tulsa last month.
DeAndre Williams accumulated 13 points and nine rebounds in this competition for the Tigers. He has only played three games since he was declared eligible by the NCAA. This decision is based on his declaration of early joining the 2020 draft NBA before retiring and moving from Evansville.
Austin Richie had 14 points and Rey Idowu added 13 in that win for the Golden Hurricane (7-4, 4-2), who recently stalled their winning streak in six games with a setback of 72-53 in Wichita State on Wednesday .
“We didn’t play well,” said coach Frank Haith on post-game radio, according to Tulsa World. “We just didn’t have the right pop.”
Darien Jackson had a season high of 12 points and nine rebounds from the bench against the Shockers.
Brandon Rachal, who averages the team’s best scores (14.8) and rebounds (7.5), will seek revenge for his worst game of the season. He only had four points in the 7-1 shootout against Memphis on December 21st. He also only had five points in the 2:15 shootout against the Shockers on Wednesday.
– Field level media