Tigers stymie Uconn; Hurley gets heated
With about 10 minutes remaining in the first half Sunday, referee Joe Lindsay stared down Connecticut coach Dan Hurley like a petulant child.
Hurley’s frantic arm waving, profanity-ridden instructions and consistent pestering of the officials were meaningless howls lost in the Huskies’ 78-71 defeat to coach Penny Hardaway’s Memphis Tigers on Sunday.
“Yeah! And one! Come on!” the Huskies coach yelled as his team trimmed the Tigers’ first-half lead to nine.
Just moments before, Hurley was pleading with the officiating crew for a number of missed over-the-back fouls.
As a result, Lindsey tried to curb the commotion coming from the Uconn bench by giving the Huskies – specifically Hurley – a warning.
“Sit down, Hurley!” someone rained down from the Fedexforum crowd through the middle of the exchange.
Hurley would not sit down.
“Shut up, Coach!” another Tigers fan yelled with 11 seconds to play in the first half. He wouldn’t do that, either. Perhaps Hurley’s behavior was a necessary distraction from the Huskies’ lackluster play in the first 20 minutes. Meanwhile, 28 feet to Hurley’s left, Hardaway slowly walked off the floor with a seven-point halftime lead, purposely unobservant of his coaching counterpart.
“You can’t miss Danny,” Hardaway said with a smile. “Danny is very energetic. He’s going to talk for the entire game. That’s just how he coaches. It doesn’t bother me at all because I understand that he’s a competitor. That’s how I look at it.”
But for two revitalized programs that the conference is looking toward to boost its reputation, the sidelines could not have been any more contrary.
“That’s just him fighting for his team,” Hardaway added. “It’s hilarious, but that’s just him fighting for his team.”
Staying in front
After Connecticut cut the Tigers’ lead to just seven at halftime, Memphis opened the second half on a 9-0 run that re-established a commanding double-digit advantage.
The Huskies (13-11, 4-7 AAC) countered by knocking down five second-half 3-point shots, each sending Hurley into another energetic rant.
The Tigers (14-10, 6-5) finally put the Huskies away behind a strong defensive performance in the second half that featured five steals, three blocks and 16 points off turnovers. The Huskies were missing two crucial pieces to their backcourt Sunday, Jalen Adams and Alterique Gilbert, who missed the game with injuries. Connecticut’s only doubledigit scorer remaining, Christian Vital, finished with 13 points and seven turnovers.
“We’re a young team, and they are a veteran team,” Hurley said. “They were just coming off a tough loss at
Connecticut coach Dan Hurley yells out to his players during Sunday’s game. BRAD VEST/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL
Memphis’ Kyvon Davenport goes up for a shot Sunday. BRAD VEST/THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL