Jeremiah Martin and Mike Parks Jr. both scored 21 for Memphis as the Tigers crushed UConn at home 73-49 on Tuesday night as the Huskies played without second-leading scorer Terry Larrier , who has been suffering from headaches since last Sunday’s road win over Tulane.
Josh Carlton led the Huskies with 15 points and nine rebounds, Christian Vital added 14 and Jalen Adams scored 11 while no other UConn player made more than one field goal.
UConn (10-8, 3-3 AAC) struggled to score all night, making only 37 percent of their shots from the floor, and 23.5 percent of their 3-point attempts. Few players scored efficiently, with Carlton a notable exception. Vital’s 14 points came on 14 shots, Adams’ 11 on 13 attempts, and Antwoine Anderson missed all six of his shots from the floor though, unlike Adams, he attempted a free throw.
Memphis had the game’s first run, leading 10-4 at the first timeout. The Tigers led by 14 at the break due to an active defense that created 11 UConn turnovers in the first half.
The lack of aggressive offense in the previous game carried over against Memphis, as not only did the Huskies struggle to create open looks through moving the ball effectively, but also rarely created contact, not being fouled for the first 16 minutes of the game. And that was on a loose ball—the first time UConn drew a foul on offense was in the second half. (An editorial reminder: One of UConn’s few offensive strengths is free throw shooting.)
Without Larrier, UConn’s rotation became miniscule. Only three true guards were available, and all three started, leaving no wiggle room for the rotations. Kevin Ollie’s team was playing shorthanded all game, and it was evident that too many players were stretched to play with more responsibility than they’re used to. Few players had complete games except Adams and the freshman frontcourt of Carlton and Isaiah Whaley, who blocked four shots.
Memphis (13-6, 4-2 AAC) extended its lead in the second half, going ahead by 20 early on and keeping the margin above that number for most of the period, eventually leading by as much as 31 before a UConn run in the last two minutes.
Martin and Parks both finished with double-doubles for Memphis, each grabbing 11 rebounds. With Central Florida’s loss to Cincinnati, Memphis takes sole possession of fourth place in the American Athletic Conference, a conference whose tournament now has first-round byes for the top four seeds.
UConn’s next game is Saturday at the XL Center at noon against No. 1 Villanova.