By Brett Speer
Sitting amongst my fellow basketball starved students, minutes before tip off, I stop and look around to take it all in. In the midst of a season that has so far not gone the way Coach Calipari had hoped, I still notice the "hope" that every tiger fan has before a game. After tip off fear started to set in as Pierre Henderson-Niles turned over the ball to allow UALR's, Matt Mouzy, to hit a three pointer. This was followed up by a Robert Dozier turn over, in which he was able to steal back only to pass the ball to Antonio Anderson who turned it over and allow UALR to make an easy lay up. The first two minutes of the game saw the Tigers losing 5-0 and the inadequacy that every Memphis fan has deep down started to seep out of that place we keep hidden away. Before all hope could be lost Tyreke Evans took the ball down court, put up a quick three pointer that caused tiger nation's fears to be subdued. It was a back and forth struggle for the first twelve minutes of the game, with a score of 18-19, Shawn Taggart snatched the offensive rebound and was fouled while attempting a lay up. Taggart made both free-throws to give the Tigers a 20-19 lead, which the Tigers would not relinquish for the rest of the game. The game was a hard nosed clash that required every point to be truly earned. The Tigers made 26-40 free throws, mainly by the superb shooting of Evans(7-11) and Dozier(9-12). The Tigers field goal percentage was abysmal (shooting 15-45) and making 3-20 three pointers. The final score was Tigers 59, UALR 51.
The game was a defensive battle with ups and downs on both teams. Pierre saw more minutes than he has seen all season with 27 minutes, and this was also only the 2nd time he has played over twenty minutes this season. Although, his statistics were not mind blowing, his physical presence was felt by UALR. Early on in the game Pierre looked a little lost in the paint but by the 2nd half he had found his way. Throughout the game Antonio Anderson struggled to find consistency but his leadership flourished. The enigma known as Willie Kemp, continued his season of performing poorly. Hopefully this game will be the wake-up call the Tigers need to turn around their season, just as the loss to Arizona a couple of seasons ago was the wake-up call that lead to an Elite eight appearance.
By Brett Speer