Memphis, TN

Memphis Tigers Steamroll Wichita State, 82-64

FlurrySports

Coming into Saturday’s game, the Wichita State and Memphis basketball teams couldn’t have been more different. While both still have the upside to win the AAC, they both took different routes to get to their matchup. Memphis had been struggling with consistency seemingly all season. Wichita State, on the other hand, outside of a bad loss to North Texas, has been one of the most consistent teams in the conference.

Memphis came into the game off of a bad conference loss to Tulane. This matchup was the first conference game of the season for the Shockers, who looked to get off to a good start at home. In a high-scoring affair, an 18-2 Memphis run spanning from the end of the first half to the start of the second put any Wichita State hope to bed. With an 18-point win over the Shockers, the Memphis Tigers are back on track in their quest to win the AAC.

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Credit: Sam Greenwood/ Getty Images

Memphis Basketball Gets First Conference Win

Josh Minott Steps Up

Although center Jalen Duren made his return to the lineup, Memphis was still shorthanded without Emoni Bates. Memphis basketball coach Penny Hardaway went with a bigger lineup against the Shockers, and it made an impact early. Duren had eight points in the first eight minutes of the game but had to make his way to the bench early due to foul trouble. With Duren on the bench, freshman forward Josh Minott stepped up in a big way.

When it comes to conference play, players usually play with a little more “juice” than other games. Minott came out hot and was flying around the court. Offensively, he was attacking the basket with menace and converting a few and-ones as well. Minott shot 6/10 from the field and finished with 15 points, six rebounds and two steals. Defensively, Minott was doing the dirty work. If there was a loose ball or a free rebound, Minott was somehow always there.

If Memphis can continue to get these types of performances out of Minott when Emoni Bates and Alex Lomax return, there is no doubt they will be a massive favorite the rest of the season in the AAC. That kind of play and effort is contagious and it may be just what Memphis needs to gain some consistency this season.

Active Hands Make Difference

Everybody knows the popular saying “defense wins championships.” In basketball, defense certainly helps, but you need to capitalize for it to make a difference. While the turnover differential between Memphis and Wichita State was slim, Memphis made more of their opportunities. The Tigers’ 18-2 run in the middle of the game spawned due to solid defense leading to easy looks in transition.

This game wasn’t a case of “who wanted it more.” It was simply the fact that when there was a loose ball, Memphis got to it and made a play. Their active hands-on defense resulted in three Memphis steals that they converted into six points in transition. Not only did the Tigers defense lead to multiple buckets and “free” points, but it also sucked all the energy out of Charles Koch Arena. Wichita State was able to finally get the crowd back into the game with three minutes left, but by that point, it was already too late.

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