Flawless Tigers host Owls in Conference USA clash
Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - The Memphis Tigers have yet to lose a Conference USA game this season, and they will attempt to remain unbeaten as they host the Rice Owls this evening.
Back-to-back losses have dropped Rice to 13-12 overall and 7-5 in league play. The most recent setback occurred on Saturday by a 74-63 final against UCF. With losses in six of eight true road games this season, the Owls enter this evening's clash as obvious underdogs. Memphis has won 27 straight at home, the third-longest active streak in the nation.
The Tigers also own the nation's longest overall winning streak at 15 games, as they haven't lost since December 20th. On Saturday, they moved to 23-3 overall with a 78-77 overtime victory over Gonzaga in BracketBuster action.
Memphis has won all three of its previous meetings with Rice, including an 84-79 triumph in the only meeting last season.
Rice possesses one of the most gifted scorers in all of college basketball, as Morris Almond is third in the nation with his 27.2 ppg. Despite constant attention from defenders, Almond is shooting a solid 48.5 percent from the floor, including 45.1 percent from three-point range, and he is an 86.8 percent free throw shooter as well. Unfortunately, there is not another double-digit scorer in the lineup, as Almond does not always get enough support from a modest supporting cast. For only the second time in 25 games this season, Almond did not lead the team in scoring in the loss to UCF. The All-American guard finished with only 13 points on 3-of-13 shooting from the field, as Lorenzo Williams paced the Owls with 16 points. A 24-12 deficit in points from the foul line and a 37-22 rebounding disadvantage hurt Rice.
Memphis is scoring 79.8 ppg this season while limiting opponents to 62.4 ppg on 38.2 percent shooting from the field. Chris Douglas-Roberts is scoring 15.0 ppg to pace the Tigers, and Jeremy Hunt is second on the roster with 13.8 ppg. The third and final double-digit scorer is Robert Dozier, as he is contributing 10.7 ppg. Joey Dorsey is averaging a modest 8.5 ppg, but he is shooting 63 percent from the floor to go along with 9.9 rpg and 66 blocks. In the win over Gonzaga last time out, Memphis blew an eight-point halftime lead but did enough in overtime to come out on top. Dorsey racked up 15 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks, proof of his ability to make an impact inside. Five players in all reached double figures in scoring for the balanced Tigers.