Blog Entry

Memphis shows toughness in blowout win of Vols

Posted on: January 5, 2012 12:09 am
Edited on: January 5, 2012 11:18 am
By Gary Parrish

MEMPHIS -- Antonio Barton has never actually heard anybody call Memphis soft. So he has no idea if it's really happening. All he knows is that Josh Pastner won't stop saying it's happening.

"I don't know if teams are saying that or if Coach is just telling us that to motivate us, but nobody on our team likes hearing we're soft," Barton said. "We're not soft. … We're not trying to come and start fights or anything. But we're not gonna let nobody walk over us."

Memphis beat Tennessee 69-51 Wednesday here at FedExForum. The Tigers were a few bad things in the win. Like ...
  • Careless with the basketball.
  • Subpar beyond the arc.
  • Sometimes confused in halfcourt sets.

But they weren't soft.

Nobody can call them soft after this performance because Memphis scrapped and pushed (both figuratively and literally) and righted some of the wrongs from its double-overtime win against Tennessee that came in November during the Maui Invitational. In that game, the Tigers were out-rebounded by a 47-32 margin while giving up 17 offensive boards. In this game, Memphis out-rebounded the Vols by a 36-26 margin and only allowed eight offensive boards. UT's Jeronne Maymon got 32 points and 20 rebounds in the first meeting while Memphis' Tarik Black was held to six points and two rebounds. Black got 18 points and seven rebounds in this meeting while Maymon was limited to nine points (on a 4-of-15 shooting effort) and nine rebounds.

Memphis held Tennessee to 36.2 percent shooting, 23.8 percent from 3-point range.

The players fought through screens nonstop with a purpose.

They also nearly fought the Vols.

"We had to show them we're not scared," Joe Jackson answered when asked about the scrum that followed a fastbreak that ended with the sophomore guard being fouled hard. "They say our team's soft and all that. But I'm not soft. And from here on out I'm gonna play with that edge."

The win pushed the Tigers to 9-5 and was particularly fun for most of the 18,334 people in attendance because there's nothing Memphis fans enjoy more than beating Tennessee in something, but Pastner liked the game for other reasons. He knows it won't catapult his program back into the national rankings, and I'm assuming he knows that if you strip away the names this was merely a lopsided victory over what will ultimately be a bottom-tier SEC team. But, still, something clicked. The Tigers guarded in a way they haven't guarded all season and worked to secure missed shots and loose balls. They didn't look like the top 10 team they were projected to be back in October, exactly. But they did look very much like an outfit equipped to run though the Conference USA portion of their schedule, record around 25 or 26 victories and make the NCAA tournament.

The talent is in place.

The points have always come.

The only real questions about this team have been questions about toughness and heart and togetherness.

And, at least for a night, those questions were answered.

"People say we don't play hard and that we can't rebound," Black said. "I think we proved them wrong."
Category: NCAAB

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2012 6:53 pm

Memphis / Vols

"Mediocre????  They certainly did not look mediocre last night.  If they are mediocre, what is Tennessee?"
Whatever it is, it ain't pretty.

Since: Apr 5, 2007
Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:25 pm

Memphis shows toughness in blowout win of Vols

Sonny bono look alike, that was hilarious I am still laughing!

Since: Mar 22, 2009
Posted on: January 5, 2012 10:17 am

Memphis shows toughness in blowout win of Vols

I have been say all along, dump the ball down to the big men, it opens everything up.
If Tiger fans want to see Tarik play hard, giving him the ball in the post will energize him.
The addition of Hall is more impressive than Simpson from the juco ranks. Time for the
Tigers to feast on Con-USA. Nice to see someone else besides Will do the scoring.

Since: Mar 19, 2009
Posted on: January 5, 2012 9:56 am

Memphis shows toughness in blowout win of Vols

Nothing like the smell of beatdown hillbillies early in the morning 

Since: Jan 22, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2012 8:56 am

Memphis shows toughness in blowout win of Vols

Mediocre????  They certainly did not look mediocre last night.  If they are mediocre, what is Tennessee? 

Since: Nov 17, 2008
Posted on: January 5, 2012 8:50 am

Memphis shows toughness in blowout win of Vols

It is odd that the ut "fans" want to run off their coach midway through his first season.  They are playing with mostly former role players from Picnic Pearl's days and not very talented ones at that.  When the Sonny-Bono-looking guy is one of your top reserves, you are definitely outmanned.  I dislike the vols as much as anyone, but wanting to lynch the coach after a dozen games is ridiculous.

Since: Nov 12, 2006
Posted on: January 5, 2012 7:47 am

Memphis blows

Come on, Gary. Gloating over the defeat of a Cuonzo-coached Vol team is downright unmanly of you. Cuonzo Martin couldn't coach the Dallas Mavericks to a win over (a very mediocre) Memphis. But, don't despair. Even Jarnelle Stokes can't save Cuonzo now. He's soon to be ridden out of Knoxville on a rail. Big Orange Nation boosters are fuming and Cuonzo's days are numbered.

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