Memphis capped a strong week in the American Athletic Conference with its 79-69 win over Temple on Saturday to give the Tigers their second road win in AAC play this week.
The No. 24 Tigers (12-3, 3-1) were in a bad place last Saturday, when Cincinnati thoroughly outplayed Memphis in the FedEx Forum, but Memphis clawed back with a road win at Louisville on Thursday and followed that up with Saturday’s win at Temple.
Temple is really depleted thanks to the injury bug biting them hard, but the Owls (5-9, 0-4) still made it a tough game for Memphis, as they led the Tigers 37-36 at the break. But Memphis hit the glass hard and did a better job of sharing and moving the ball as they surged past a noticeably tired Temple team in the second half.
Shaq Goodwin came alive for the Tigers, scoring a team-high 23 points and grabbing 11 rebounds — eight of them on the offensive glass — to help pace the Tigers on the interior. Memphis outrebounded Temple 45-28 overall and 16-5 on the offensive glass as they sent multiple players to the offensive glass after each shot.
Memphis was also much better about not forcing shots and moving the ball around for good looks on the offensive end. After a solid dose of “hero ball” in the loss to Cincinnati, the Tigers had 21 assists, including three different guards — Chris Crawford (eight), Joe Jackson (six) and Mike Dixon (five) — with five or more assists. Memphis is still prone to some bad shots here-and-there, but if they take the time to take smart shots and maintain their potentially lethal fast-break opportunities, they are really tough to stop on offense.
Memphis did a nice job of getting their big men more involved this week and not hoisting bad jumpers. When they bring a balanced offensive approach, the Tigers have an offense that can really get rolling and be tough to stop.