March 1, 2024


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Memphis basketball survives fear in Tulsa.  Here are 5 takeaways

Memphis basketball survives fear in Tulsa. Here are 5 takeaways

TULSA, Okla. – No. 15 Memphis Basketball escaped Tulsa's Reynolds Center with a 78-75 win on Thursday, the Tigers' seventh in a row.

Tulsa (9-4, 0-1 AAC) tied the score at 75 with 33.4 seconds left, but Jahvon Quinerly hit a 3-pointer with 4 seconds left to rescue Memphis (12-2, 1-0).

Niquan Tomlin and David Jones each scored 17 points for the Tigers. PJ Haggerty had 27 for Tulsa.

Here are five takeaways from Thursday's game.

Nae'Qwan Tomlin shines again

The Kansas State transfer midseason didn't need long to make an impact.

Tomlin, a 6-foot-10 forward, scored 15 points and grabbed 15 rebounds in last week's win over Austin Peay, becoming the first Memphis player since at least 2010-11 to record 15 double-doubles in 23 minutes or fewer.

What does he do to appear? Lead Memphis to a hard-fought road win over the pesky Golden Hurricane.

Tomlin was a force around the basket – on both ends of the floor. In one scene, he blocked a shot on defense, then took a executed pass almost the length of the floor and finished with a wide-open one-handed shot with authority.

He also collected seven rebounds.

David Jones – Sick?

Memphis wasn't even sure its leading scorer would play Thursday.

Not after a hard-to-remove error kept David Jones out of the training room for much of this week.

But if he was still feeling the effects of his illness, he wore it well. Despite committing seven turnovers, Jones scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

PJ Haggerty lives up to the billing

Haggerty had his way with Memphis in the first half.

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The 6-3 redshirt freshman guard was an incredible one-man fireball. He dropped 17 points before halftime on 6-of-11 shooting from the field and 4-for-5 at the free throw line, grabbing three rebounds and a steal.

The Tigers pride themselves on shutting out their opponents' best player. But the Crosby, Texas, native finished with 27 points.

Caleb Mills' ugly injury

The senior guard had an open lane to the basket, so he broke the baseline for it. As he approached the goal, he planted his left foot, only to be sent into the air.

Mills immediately grabbed his left knee, clearly in severe pain. Head athletic trainer Darrell Turner (who is also the athletic department's senior associate athletic director for sports medicine) and strength coach Darby Rich rushed to check on Mills. Hardaway followed them.

After several minutes, much of which Mills spent writhing in pain, he tried to put weight on his left leg. But he couldn't, so Hardaway, Turner, and Rich picked him up off the ground.

Shortly after the team went to the locker room at the end of the first half, Mills left the field area, partly under his own authority. With a brace on his left knee and his arms around a pair of staffs, he was able to put some weight on his left leg as he slowly made his way to the locker room.

Mills is averaging 8.5 points and 3.2 rebounds per game this season.

How Tulsa got back into the game

The Golden Hurricane, for all their might, couldn't get anything going beyond the arc in the first half (3-for-13).

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They turned that around in the second half, using 3-pointers to cut the Tigers' lead to 14 points at halftime. After his sixth 3-pointer of the second half, Tulsa trailed 56-53 with 12:18 left.

The bulk of the damage came at the hands of Carlos Williams, who entered Thursday's game just 3-for-15 this season at the 3-point line. He made that many goals in the space of four minutes at the start of the second half.

Williams finished with 16 points and four 3-pointers.

Contact sportswriter Jason Munz at [email protected] or on Twitter @munzly.