Memphis, currently ranked No. 21 in the nation, has had to fight to get back into the top 25 and tonight showed that their team is coming together at the right time. After falling to VCU, Minnesota and Louisville early in the season the Tigers have dominated their conference play and used that time to work on team chemistry. Their chemistry was on full display as they beat Southern Miss 89-73.
Memphis scored 29 field goals on 25 assists led by Geron Johnson‘s seven assists. Five players had three or more assists. Their ball movement was impressive against an attacking zone defense. They moved the ball quickly from side to side and worked the ball into the post with purpose. To cap off a great zone attack they made sure they were knocking down shots. The Tigers poured in 11 three pointers led by Chris Crawford, who hit five of eleven from downtown.
Memphis has a history of having great athletes and had been known to play with inspired effort on the defensive end of the floor. However, their Achilles heal has always been their shot selection and ability to make shots from deep. Coach Josh Pastner has put things together for this group. They still have the athleticism to play with anyone in the nation and are now showing they can play smart basketball on the offensive side of the ball as well. Their season average of 17 assists per game does not do them justice as they are averaging nearly 20 assists a game over their last six games.
Memphis is becoming a complete team, a team that Pastner can be proud of and a team no one wants to see in the coming weeks.