At the Horn: Tigers dispatch Tennessee Tech as the Penny Era gets off to successful start

By Published: November 07, 2018 3:40 PM CT

The Penny Hardaway era got off to a successful start on Tuesday night as Memphis defeated Tennessee Tech 76-61 in the season-opener for both teams.

The game was not only the season-opener, but also the debut for Hardaway, hired in March into the Memphis basketball program, which had become almost irrelevant in the basketball-crazy city.

Kyvon Davenport led the Tigers with 30 points – connecting on 11 of 17 shots – and 10 rebounds. Jeremiah Martin added 18 for Memphis.

Micaiah Henry led Tennessee Tech with 23 points and 13 rebounds, missing only one of his nine shots from the field on the night. Hunter Vick finished with 10 points for the Golden Eagles.

Memphis took control with a trio of 3-pointers near the midway point of the first half and really was never threatened after that.

Tennessee Tech was hampered by shooting 36.5 percent for the game and 26 turnovers only added to their misery.

There were certainly times that things weren’t very smooth for the Tigers. Late in the first half, the shooting suffered and the fast pace gave way to turnovers and sloppy play. The pestering defense early in the second half led to a half-dozen fouls before 5 minutes had passed.

Martin, as he did in the final exhibition game against CBU opened with accurate shooting, converting his first five shots of the game, including a pair of 3-pointers. Those came after another 3-pointer from Kareem Brewton to open an early lead that set the stage for the Tigers.

Martin’s first miss, on a drive to the basket, was put back on a dunk by Victor Enoh.

The Memphis lead would reach 16 – 31-15 – on David Wingett’s dunk off of a Golden Eagle turnover.

Memphis would take the lead to as many as 19 in the first half before holding a 46-31 advantage at intermission.

Davenport had 17 in the half for Memphis, while Martin chipped in 14.

Henry led Tennessee Tech with 16 points, making all five of his shots from the field.


Tennessee Tech: The Golden Eagles have 11 newcomers and a redshirt freshman on this year’s team. The returning players represent only 27 percent of Tech’s minutes last season. … Haven’t won a season-opening road game since defeating South Carolina to open the 2000-01 season. … Golden Eagles are 7-21 against he Tigers in Memphis. … Had 15 turnovers in the first half.


Memphis: Fans were given a replica of the original oversized Penny coin. In this version, Hardaway is in a suit with the Tiger leaping through the M logo and a 2018 “mint” date. …Holds a six-game winning streak over the Golden Eagles. …But the teams haven’t met since 2009, and Tuesday was only the fourth time they have played since 1961. …Tigers coaches are 15-4 in the opening game at the Memphis help. …Of course, Tuesday was Election Day, and the game marked the first time the Tigers played a regular-season game on Election Day – mid-terms or presidential.


Tennessee Tech: Entertain Presbyterian next Tuesday.

Memphis: Travel to Baton Rouge to face LSU next Tuesday.


Memphis Tigers Basketball Penny Hardaway Tennessee Tech
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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