Cougars and Tigers set to clash in first of two meetings down the stretch
The No. 22 Cougars are traveling to Memphis, Tennessee to take on the Tigers on Saturday for the first of two meetings in the final four games of the season.
The Cougars were led by redshirt freshman guard Caleb Mills in the win, who scored a career-high 27 points, 19 of which came all at once to begin the second half.
The Tigers had lost three-straight games before Wednesday’s win, but that means nothing for head coach Kelvin Sampson, who pointed out how they forced overtime against the Cincinnati Bearcats, controlled most of the game against UConn and narrowly fell to South Florida in those losses.
Memphis is led by freshman forward Precious Achiuwa, who is leading the team with 15.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game.
“Achiuwa is a top pick,” Sampson said.
The head coach also pointed freshman guard Boogie Ellis as a player to watch on Saturday.
“He (Ellis) is a good player,” Sampson said. “He causes problems because he can beat you off the bounce and he can shoot it … he has a thick, thick lower body and is really athletic, so you got to be careful how you defend him on pin downs.”
Off the bench, the Cougars will also need to look out for a pair of 3-point shooting sophomore guards in Tyler Harris, who is shooting 36 percent from behind the arc, and Alex Lomax, who is shooting 47 percent on 3-pointers this season.
“(Harris and Lomax) hurt us last year,” Sampson said. “You never know when Harris is going to jump up and make six 3’s.”
The Tigers are 13-3 at home this season, which includes a 5-2 mark against The American.
Last season, the Cougars swept the Tigers in both of their meetings, including a narrow 61-58 victory during the AAC Championship semifinals.
The game will be at 1 p.m. CST and broadcasted on ESPN2 and can be heard on KPRC 950 AM.