At the Horn: Tigers use strong defense, scoring from Harris and Davenport to defeat UAB

By Updated: December 08, 2018 3:59 PM CT | Published: December 08, 2018 2:23 PM CT

Tyler Harris scored 24 points, Kyvon Davenport added 21 points and eight rebounds as Memphis used a strong second- half defense to defeat UAB 94-76 on Saturday afternoon.

Jermiah Martin added 14 points on 5 of 10 shooting as Memphis (5-4) won its second straight.

Lewis Sullivan led the Blazers (6-3)with 14 points, while Zack Bryant added 13. Will Butler, Jeremiah Bell and Jalen Perry scored 10 points apiece for UAB.

Davenport would convert 8 of 10 shots on the day, including 3 of 5 from outside the arc. He entered the game making only 7 of 5 of 17 from outside the arc this season.

"Kyvon is really unstoppable," Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. "I haven't seen one guy relly shake Kyvon down. Only Kyvon can shut himself down."

The Tigers pulled away late in the second half after UAB made a couple of runs at Memphis’ lead. The Tigers defense held UAB to 33 percent shooting after halftime, including making only one of its 10 shots from outside the arc. Eight of the Blazers 17 turnovers in the game came in the second half.

The first half was highlighted by accurate shooting for both teams. But as well as the teams shot in the first half, they were just as bad in the second, misfiring from in close and outside the arc.

Still, the Blazers (6-3) were able to pull within four points at one time, and later got as close as five. Memphis still led 76-68 near the 5-minute mark, when the Tigers clicked off an 9-2 rally, taking the lead back to 15, ending UAB’s three-game winning streak.

"I thought both teams were trying to get rhythm," UAB coach Robert Ehsan said. "I thought both teams were trying to settle in a little bit. We shot the ball very poorly from three in the second half, which was frustrating because of how well we shot in the first half."

The teams put on a shooting clinic in the first half, including combining to convert 16 of 24 shots from outside the arc. That included making only two of the last five in the half.

The outside shooting also opened the inside for an alley-oop or two and drives to the basket. The mixture of inside shooting and 3-point accuracy left Memphis shooting 62 percent for the half, while UAB as at 52 percent.

BOX SCORE: Memphis Tigers vs. UAB Blazers

Memphis would use its pressing defense to cause turnovers during the middle portion of the half. That combined with the Tigers making eight straight field goals help Memphis build the lead to 19 with 6:34 left before intermission.

The Blazers would continue to make 3-pointers, putting a dent in the Memphis advantage, leaving the Tigers with a 49-39 lead at the half.

The great shooting did not continue after halftime – for either team. UAB did a better job of protecting the rim on drives by Memphis. The Tiger defense continued to slap at the ball from   the hands of Blazers.

Near the 13-minute mark of the second half, the teams had made only 4 of 19 shots and the scoring was stuck in low gear. Memphis missed seven of its first eight shots from outside the arc in the half.

And, it didn’t improve much as the teams were both near 33 percent for the second half with about 8 minutes left in the game.

When the Blazers got close, the Tigers answered, on at least two occasions on baskets by Davenport.

"We dug ourselves too big of a hole," Ehsan said. "I told our team the final score is not indicative of how the game was played in my opinion. Nor was it indicative of how we played. There was a lot of points in those last three minutes that widened the gap.

Fast break points

UAB: Made its first three shots from outside the arc, missing its first with 10:24 left in the first half. …The Blazers previous losses were to Florida State and College of Charleston. …Bryant, the Blazers leading scorer was 4 of 15 from the field and 2 of 7 from 3.

Memphis: The UAB game was the second of a seven-game homestand stretching into January. …Walk-on Evin Olds scored his first points as a Tiger, converting a pair of free throws with 20 seconds left. …Davenport and Isaiah Maurice both fouled out.

Familiar foes

The Tigers and Blazers were playing each other for the 49th time. Tigers lead the series 38-11. The Blazers won the last meeting 71-56 in Birmingham at the Bartow Classic. Of course the major tie between the two schools will be the legendary Gene Bartow, who coached both programs, including taking the Tigers to the 1973 NCAA championship game against UCLA.

Up next

UAB: Plays Auburn next Saturday in Birmingham at the Mike Slive Invitational

Memphis: Has a week off to prepare for a home game next Saturday against No. 7 Tennessee (6-1).


Memphis Tigers Basketball UAB Blazers Tyler Harris Kyvon Davenport
Clay Bailey

Clay Bailey

Clay Bailey, a lifelong Memphian, has worked as a reporter in the city almost four decades. He concentrated on suburban coverage. He also is a freelance sportswriter for the Associated Press.

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