It was a battle of two cities at Memorial Gymnasium on Monday night as the Vanderbilt Commodores welcomed Penny Hardaway and the Memphis Tigers to their place for a highly anticipated season opener for both programs. From the opening tip, it was all Memphis as the Tigers opened the new season with a massive win over Vanderbilt.
In the first half, Memphis shot the lights out of Memorial Gymnasium by ending the half with an impressive 51.9% from the field. You could sense early on that the Tigers held the advantage in the talent pool and in-game coaching. Although the game was at Vanderbilt, Memphis kept Vanderbilt from playing Commodore Basketball. Memphis pushed the tempo in the first half and forced Vanderbilt to have four turnovers. Memphis also outrebounded Vanderbilt in the first half by a margin of 22-13. No matter what Jerry Stackhouse and his Vanderbilt team tried to do, stopping the Tigers in the first half was an impossible feat. At the break, Memphis held a 34-22 lead over the Commodores, with DeAndre Williams and Kendric Davis leading the way for the Tigers in scoring. Davis and Willams combined for thirteen points in the first half. The Davis three was followed up by another one from DeAndre Williams that pushed the Tigers’ lead to one that was too much for Vanderbilt to overcome.
In the second half, it was all the Memphis Tigers until the under-eight media timeout when Coach Stackhouse and his Vanderbilt Commodores applied the pressure and forced Memphis to commit careless mistakes that would bring Vanderbilt with single digits. Memphis responded by switching a few things up at the timeout and limiting Vanderbilt to taking nonideal shots late in the shot clock. Memphis went over five minutes without a field goal before Kendric Davis nailed a massive three to extend the Tigers’ lead to 62-47 with 4:45 remaining in the game.
Leading the way for the Tigers tonight was the duo of Kendric Davis, who finished the night with 16, and DeAndre Williams with 17. As the season progresses for the Tigers, Memphis fans will see these two guys providing leadership for the program as they navigate the road to the NCAA Tournament.
Tuesday night was an impressive outing for Penny Hardaway and his Memphis Tigers. Memphis showed the rest of college basketball that despite losing so many key guys from last season, the Tigers would still be a force to be considered an NCAA Tournament team. There wasn’t much doubt on Tuesday night as the Tigers showed they could compete on both ends of the court. Memphis played a complete game that showed a lot of bright spots for Tiger Nation to be excited about next Tuesday night as the Tigers hit the road again to play St. Louis.