Saturday, December 19, 2009

Memphis Tigers at UMass (ESPN2, 5 pm)

Posted By on Sat, Dec 19, 2009 at 8:00 AM

• The Tigers will hit the floor at TD Banknorth Arena in Boston (remember Boston Garden?) after enjoying their longest layoff of the season. With fall semester exams behind them, the Tigers aim to extend their winning streak to seven games against the UMass Minutemen, coached by former Tiger assistant Derek Kellogg.

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• Kellogg is in his second year at the helm of his alma mater, having gone 12-18 in 2008-09. The Minutemen enter the game with a record of 5-5, but have won three of four since being dismantled by Michigan State on December 2nd. Guards Anthony Gurley (16.6 ppg) and Ricky Harris (17.7) are the Minutemen’s top scorers. Swingman Terrell Vinson had 20 points and 11 rebounds in his team’s last contest, a win over Grambling.

• Memphis has played UMass only twice before, but the first meeting was historic. When coach Larry Finch led his Tigers (featuring Lorenzen Wright) against coach John Calipari’s Minutemen (featuring Marcus Camby) on January 4, 1996, it marked only the second game in Tiger history between two teams ranked in the Top Five nationally. The top-ranked Minutemen edged the third-ranked Tigers, 64-61. Five more top-five battles have taken place involving the Tigers since then, four of them during the 2007-08 season.

The Tigers beat UMass at FedExForum last season, 80-58. Players still on the Tiger roster accounted for 21 of those points a year ago.

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