Quentin Grimes took over for the Houston Cougars Saturday afternoon, scoring eight straight points midway through the second half to erase a two-point (41-39) Tiger lead. The transfer from Kansas (Grimes played for the Jayhawks last season) scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half to put the Cougars (23-8) in position to win the American Athletic Conference's regular-season championship (with a Tulsa loss Sunday). The Tigers dropped to 21-10 (10-8 in the AAC) and will receive a bye in next week's conference tourney only if Connecticut and Wichita State both lose Sunday.
Despite missing 12 of their first 14 shots, the Tigers led at halftime (30-26) and well into the second half before Grimes found his range from long distance. Precious Achiuwa
established a new record for Memphis freshmen with his 18th double-double (25 points and 14 rebounds) and moved within 11 points of becoming the 10th Tiger freshman to score 500. But he had little offensive support. Only Lester Quinones
scored as many as 10 points among Achiuwa's teammates and Memphis only got nine points from its bench.
The Tigers will likely have to reach the AAC tourney final for any consideration of an NCAA tournament berth. (The league champion receives an automatic bid.) Unless they receive a bye, the Tigers' opening game in Fort Worth will be on Thursday.