The Commercial Appeal

Williams, Davis power Tigers to win over Temple

- Jason Munz

Temple was no match for Memphis basketball’s terrific tandem of Kendric Davis and Deandre Williams, as the Tigers picked up the 86-77 win Sunday at Fedexforum.

Davis finished with 21 points — 17 in the second half. He needs two more points to establish himself as the AAC’S all-time leading scorer and break former Temple star Quinton Rose’s record.

Williams, however, was the MVP on Sunday. His 26 points and 12 rebounds were both game-highs. The performanc­e marked his seventh doubledoub­le this season and it was the 21st straight game Williams has scored in double figures. He also had six assists.

Perhaps most important, Williams came through in crunch time. With 5:17 left and the Tigers (19-6, 9-3 AAC) up 71-65, Williams scored or assisted on Memphis’ next 11 points against the Owls (14-12, 8-5).

The Tigers, who have won seven of their last eight games, return to the floor Thursday (7 p.m., ESPN+) against UCF at Fedexforum.

Here are three takeaways from Sunday’s game:

Crafty Kendric Davis

While Davis wasn’t the most efficient on offense as he’s ever been, finishing 6-of-17 from the field, he made up for it in other areas.

Davis handed out four assists, while also coming away with four steals — one off his season-high.

Elijah Mccadden: Glue guy

Flashy, he’s not.

But when the Tigers need Elijah Mccadden, who came into Sunday’s game averaging 6.8 points and 3.8 rebounds, he has a knack for answering the bell.

For instance, when Memphis needed a spark in the first half against Temple, Mccadden was there. Down 12-10, the former Georgia Southern standout provided an assist on a Jayden Hardaway 3-pointer. After securing the ensuing defensive rebound, Mccadden connected with Hardaway for another 3-pointer.

When Temple cut the lead to 16-15

and was threatenin­g to take the lead back, Mccadden came up with a steal and went coast-to-coast to extend the Tigers’ lead. And, with Memphis clinging to a one-point lead late in the first half, Mccadden’s layup with 14 seconds left provided the home team some extra cushion.

“I think it’s just comfort,” coach Penny Hardaway said of Mccadden earlier this week. “Both (he and Kennedy were) trying to find their comfort level. Especially Elijah. Keonte kind of took to it earlier. Elijah was still trying to find his way. I’m happy to see both of those guys playing well.”

Mccadden finished with 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.

Alex Lomax getting closer?

Alex Lomax sat out Sunday for the eighth straight game as he continues to nurse a groin injury.

But he could be knocking on the door of a return. Two days after Hardaway assertivel­y declared the senior guard would be back on the floor before next month’s AAC Tournament, Lomax was putting his progress on display at Fedexforum.

Lomax spent more than an hour on the court prior to tip-off versus Temple participat­ing in several solo drills designed to test his mobility, among other things.

Reach sports writer Jason Munz at jason.munz@commercial­ or on Twitter @munzly.

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