MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Parks Jr. had a career-best night for Memphis, while Jeremiah Martin, the Tigers leading scorer, matched him in points and rebounds. The result was an early lead that built to a runaway victory for the Tigers as Memphis defeated UConn 73-49 on Tuesday night.
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Parks Jr. had a career-best night for Memphis, while Jeremiah Martin, the Tigers leading scorer, matched him in points and rebounds.
The result was an early lead that built to a runaway victory for the Tigers as Memphis defeated UConn 73-49 on Tuesday night.
Both Parks and Martin recorded 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Tigers. Parks' totals were career-highs in both categories, and the rebounds included five off the offensive glass.
"He's like a big ol' teddy bear. He's got a soft heart. He's got a great disposition and he's a real likable kid," Memphis coach Tubby Smith said.
Kareem Brewton Jr. added 10 points for the Tigers (13-6, 4-2 American Athletic Conference), who never trailed in the game en route to their fourth straight victory.
For UConn (10-8, 3-3), the outing was a disaster almost from the start. The Huskies committed 17 turnovers, shot 37 percent on the night and were outrebounded 38-23, including Memphis grabbing 14 offensive rebounds.
"I don't know what it was, but we're going to have to correct it," Huskies coach Kevin Ollie said after emerging from a postgame session with his team that extended well past 25 minutes. "We didn't play our UConn style. We got outrebounded. We got out-toughed in every area of the game."
The Huskies, who saw their three-game winning streak snapped, were led by 15 points and nine rebounds from Josh Carlton. Christian Vital added 14 points and leading scorer Jalen Adams, who averages 18.5 a game, had 11 points.
Terry Larrier, the Huskies second-leading scorer at 15.3 points a game, sat out with lingering headaches.
Even Larrier's 15-plus points wouldn't have made a big difference as UConn seemed out of sync all night. The 49 points in a game were a season-low for UConn, below the previous low-water mark of 57 against Michigan State on Nov. 24.
UConn's offensive struggles began early and didn't improve. Besides shooting 42.1 percent in the first half, the Huskies committed 11 turnovers before the break. UConn also missed eight of its 10 shots from outside the arc in the half.
Those problems, coupled with Parks scoring 13 points for Memphis, helped the Tigers carry a 32-18 into halftime.
"(Parks) was rebounding. He was getting wherever he wanted to," Ollie said of Parks' first-half performance. "Our guys have to fight a little bit harder to get around him. He commanded the basketball."
UConn: The game got away from the Huskies in the first half, scoring a season-low 18 points before the break. Between shooting woes and poor ball handling, UConn never got untracked offensively. The Huskies, who connect on 75.6 percent of their free throws on the season, never got to the line in the first half, and things never got better in the second half as they shot 33.3 percent after intermission.
Memphis: The Tigers got a big start from Parks, who entered the game averaging 5.9 points. Parks had 11 points early and 13 at the half as Memphis led by as many as 13 points en route its 32-18 lead at the break. Memphis would shoot even better in the second half making 51.9 percent of its shots (14 of 27), in spite of coach Tubby Smith clearing the bench in the final minutes.
Larrier's absence was a game-time decision as the headaches became more intense. While the Memphis victory was more than Larrier's 15.3 average, the junior swingman's absence was noticed. "Without Terry, we needed everybody to step up," Ollie said. "He had a headache, and it just never subsided. It does get better, but it comes up when he exerts energy. The medical staff and he felt that the best thing for him was not to play."
The attendance was 2,417, a small turnout even in the tough times Memphis is facing right now, where interest in the program has waned. The problem Tuesday was the weather. The city was hit with about two inches of snow Monday night into Tuesday morning and the temperature stayed in the teens through the day, making driving to FedExForum, the Tigers downtown arena, a bit dicey.
UConn: Entertains No. 1 Villanova on Saturday,
Memphis: Travels to Tulsa on Saturday.