Tigers stymie Uconn; Hur­ley gets heated

The Commercial Appeal - - Sports - Drew Hill Memphis Com­mer­cial Ap­peal USA TO­DAY NET­WORK - TEN­NESSEE

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

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