Kyvon Davenport delivers
home against Cincinnati where they probably outplayed them for the majority of that game. So their seniors probably were just a lot more locked in than our group that came in here with its two best players in travel suits.”
The closing minutes
Memphis allowed Connecticut to grab four offensive rebounds on one offensive trip with just more than a minute remaining. That trip eventually led to a 3-pointer by Huskies guard Tarin Smith.
The shot cut Memphis’ lead to just four, the closest margin in the second half of a game that the Tigers led from start to finish.
Memphis senior Raynere Thornton countered with a dunk that extended his team’s lead to six, and he and Jeremiah Martin made four free throws in the final 30 seconds to put the game out of reach.
“We had to dig in and really had to fight at the end,” Tigers senior Kyvon Davenport said. “They made a little (run) at the end, a couple rebounds got them back going. But it was good of us to slow it down and really run our offense, get good shots and get that dunk by (Thornton). Then, to start executing more at the end, because it could have gotten worse.”
Davenport contributed his best performance in more than a month Sunday, pouring in 26 points to lead all scorers.
After Martin scored 41 and 26 in the Tigers’ previous two games, Hardaway challenged the other Memphis seniors to shoulder some of the scoring load. Davenport’s 9-for-13 afternoon certainly accomplished that, and it was also just the third time since the start of conference play he shot better than 60 percent.
“Everything is already set up for him to go out and do that,” Hardaway said. “He just has to produce.”
The highlight of the game came when Martin threw an off-the-backboard alley-oop to Davenport for a dunk early in the second half that put the Tigers up 14.
“I get excited over plays like that,” Hardaway said, “because those are team plays . ... I always talk about sharing the basketball and being a team player. When that happens, I know it’s unselfish and a great team play.”