No team in the vast land of college basketball has won more championships over the last 20 years than the Connecticut Huskies. With four titles (1999, 2004, 2011, and 2014), UConn's recent trophy case is the envy of North Carolina, Kentucky, Duke, Kansas, and all the rest of the name-brand programs we tend to follow into late March. Any game the Memphis Tigers play against UConn is a big game.
On a frigid Tuesday night in the Mid-South, the Tigers remained red hot — in a big game — with a 24-point beat-down of UConn. Jeremiah Martin
and Mike Parks Jr
. each had 21 points and 11 rebounds (both season highs for Parks) to lead Memphis in its fourth straight win and help the Tigers secure sole possession of fourth place in the American Athletic Conference. It's the first four-game winning streak in league play for the Tigers since they joined the AAC for the 2013-14 season.
The Tigers took the lead early and gained separation in the first half by holding the Huskies without a point for nearly six minutes. Memphis led 22-11 after 12 minutes of play and 32-18 at halftime. Jamal Johnson
hit a three-pointer to open the second half, and the Tiger lead swelled to 20 points less than seven minutes after the break.
UConn played without its second-leading scorer, Terry Larrier (15.3 points per game), and were led by guard Jalen Adams with merely 11 points (almost eight under his season average). The Huskies dropped to 10-8 for the season (3-3 in the AAC) while the Tigers improved to 13-6 (4-2).
With his fourth straight 20-point game, Martin has emerged as a dark-horse AAC Player of the Year candidate. Martin hit eight of 16 field-goal attempts, including three of seven from three-point range. He also contributed four assists and three steals.
scored 10 points off the Tiger bench, helping Memphis shoot 50 percent for the game (28 for 56). UConn shot 38 percent from the field and a miserable 24 percent (4 for 17) from long distance.
The Tigers travel to Tulsa for their next game Saturday night. Memphis beat the Golden Hurricane, 76-67, on January 6th. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. They'll return to FedExForum on January 27th when 12th-ranked Cincinnati comes to town.