Thursday, January 8, 2015

SMU 73, Tigers 59

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 10:25 PM

An undermanned Tiger team was thoroughly declawed tonight at Moody Coliseum in Dallas, an arena where they've now lost four of their last five games. Markus Kennedy came off the Mustang bench to lead all scorers with 21 points. Yanick Moreira (15), Ben Moore (12), and Keith Frazier (12) also reached double figures on the scoreboard for SMU, which improved to 11-4 with the victory.

The loss drops Memphis to 8-6 for the season, and 1-2 in American Athletic Conference play. The Tigers hadn't been under .500 in league play since the 2003-04 season when they opened 0-2 in Conference USA.

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The Tigers were missing three rotation players. Nick King (ankle injury) and Kuran Iverson (he of the now-notorious Twitter feed) did not make the trip, and junior forward Trahson Burrell never got off the Memphis bench (presumably having violated a team rule).

The Mustangs dominated the first half, shooting 50 percent (14 for 28) while holding the Tigers to 34 percent (9 for 26). Back-to-back three-pointers from Avery Woodson and Markel Crawford closed the SMU lead to seven (28-21), but the Mustangs scored the last six points of the half.

An 11-0 Tiger run closed the deficit from 18 points to seven in the second half, but Memphis never got closer, trailing by double digits the last ten minutes of the game. SMU pulled down more offensive rebounds (17) than the Tigers had on their defensive end (16). Overall, the Mustangs dominated the glass, 42-24. The Tigers actually had their second-lowest turnover total of the season, only 10 (with 11 assists).

Austin Nichols led the Tigers with 11 points, his eighth straight game in double figures. D'Marnier Cunningham came off the bench and scored a season-high 10. Junior forward Shaq Goodwin was held in check (five points and three rebounds). Earning a rare start, Chris Hawkins added nine points and a team-leading seven rebounds.

Memphis travels to Houston next, where the Cougars await Sunday afternoon. The Tigers beat Houston on New Year's Eve at FedExForum.

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