Thursday, February 4, 2016

Connecticut 77, Tigers 57

Posted By on Thu, Feb 4, 2016 at 11:24 PM

The fans hit the exits with six minutes to go,
Their favorite team's season having hit a new low.

A day after Memphis lost one of its favorite Tigers — broadcaster and poet, Jack Eaton — the current group of basketball players continued its downward spiral with the worst 20 minutes seen at FedExForum this winter. The U of M took the floor after halftime with a one-point lead (37-36) and proceeded to make a total of four field goals the rest of the game. Over the first 10 minutes of the second period, the UConn Huskies took 22 shots (and made 10), while the Tigers committed seven turnovers and took all of five shots. That one-point advantage turned into a 13-point deficit (59-46), and the gap only grew as the arena emptied and the clock — slowly — wound to zero.

"They really stepped on the gas," said senior forward Shaq Goodwin. "And we couldn't catch up to them. Effort plays and execution." Tonight the Tigers had neither after halftime.
click to enlarge Avery Woodson - LARRY KUZNIEWSKI
  • Larry Kuzniewski
  • Avery Woodson

Huskies forward Daniel Hamilton scored 16 points, grabbed 13 rebounds, and handed out eight assists in helping his team sweep the season series from Memphis. UConn improves to 16-6 (6-3 in the American Athletic Conference), while the Tigers fall to 13-9 (4-5). The Huskies took a total of 71 shots for the game (making 32), while Memphis was merely 16 for 41 from the field (4 for 16 after halftime). The Tigers committed a season-high 20 turnovers and were outscored 54-24 in the paint.

Tiger coach Josh Pastner described his team's second-half play as "lethargic" and emphasized that his team will not win games without the trio of Goodwin, Dedric Lawson, and Ricky Tarrant Jr. playing well. Goodwin was held to eight points and six rebounds in 33 minutes; Lawson scored six points and committed the same number of turnovers; and Tarrant committed five turnovers and missed eight of 18 free-throw attempts after entering the game shooting 86 percent from the line. Overall, the Tigers were 21 for 36 from the charity stripe.

"We just didn't start well [in the second half]," said Pastner. "It's one of those things. We couldn't get our big three guys going. I thought we were a little slow offensively, plus the turnovers really, really hurt us."

Senior forward Trahson Burrell dressed for the game and sat on the Tiger bench but did not play for disciplinary reasons. Pastner said Burrell will be reinstated Friday.

When asked if he heard the booing from the crowd that remained at the end of the game, Pastner said, "This is high-major college basketball. It's not intramurals. That's part of it."

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