Memphis Tigers vs. Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners Pick & Prediction JANUARY 10th 2024

For Memphis coach Penny Hardaway, wins like Sunday’s 62-59 squeaker against American Athletic Conference rival SMU mean a little more.

“Nothing was perfect about it and we still found a way to win against a really good SMU team,” he said.

Just the same, Hardaway is probably hoping that his 13th-ranked Tigers figure out a way to win their conference game against visiting Texas-San Antonio on Wednesday night without all the suspense.

For the second straight game, Jahvon Quinerly provided the heroics. After drilling a 3-pointer that was the difference in a 78-75 win Thursday night at Tulsa, he nailed a 3-pointer with 3.2 seconds left on Sunday to break a 59-59 tie.

That capped a rally from a 36-24 halftime deficit that was based on hot SMU shooting and rebounding. The Mustangs went 12 of 20 on 2-pointers and dominated the boards 25-9, grabbing more offensive rebounds (12) than Memphis had total rebounds.

Hardaway found that especially distasteful.

“Do I need to say anything more?” the coach said he asked his players. “They didn’t say anything. They were like, ‘OK, understood.’ I said, ‘Hey, we’re not gonna panic but we do have to fight.'”

The Tigers (13-2, 2-0) fought — and then some — after halftime, outscoring SMU by 15 and earning a 26-18 rebounding advantage. They only gave up seven offensive boards and, in the end, reaped the benefits of tougher, smarter play.

David Jones scored a team-high 17 points and leads Memphis’ attack with 20.7 points per game, while Quinerly adds 12.8 ppg and a team-high 4.5 assists. Nae’Qwan Tomlin is contributing 10.5 ppg and 7.0 rebounds in his first four games. He transferred to Memphis in mid-December after being dismissed from Kansas State following his arrest for alleged disorderly conduct. He was allowed to play this season after graduating in in December.

The Tigers’ success is primarily via defense. Per’s NCAA metrics, they rank 32nd in adjusted defensive efficiency, allowing 96.0 points per 100 possessions.

Meanwhile, the Roadrunners (7-8, 1-1) also rallied for a weekend win, stopping Rice 89-82 in overtime Saturday in Houston. Jordan Ivy-Curry made two free throws with three seconds left in regulation to force five more minutes and UTSA outscored the Owls 12-5 in OT for their first AAC victory.

Carlton Linguard pumped in a team-high 24 points on just 13 shots for the Roadrunners, more than doubling his usual scoring average of 10.8. Dre Fuller also outdid his usual numbers, scoring 23 points to boost his points per game to 11.4.

Ivy-Curry stuffs the stat sheet nightly, leading the team in scoring (14.0 ppg) while ranking second in assists (4.8). Christian Tucker is the team’s other double-figure scorer at 13.2 ppg, connecting on 41.3 percent of his 3-pointers.

UTSA plays fast and scores a lot, averaging just over 79 ppg, but has not been good on the defensive end. The Roadrunners rank 330th in kenpom in adjusted defensively efficiency at 113.0 points per 100 possessions. The Roadrunners have played just one team in the top 100 of the kenpom rankings, getting routed by Minnesota 102-76 on Nov. 10.

Memphis is shooting for its ninth straight win.

–Field Level Media

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