Jackson St.-Memphis Preview

Memphis coach Josh Pastner is hoping his team can learn from an

unpleasant trip to Hawaii. A couple of winnable home games this

week might help the Tigers begin doing that.

They’ll play the first of those Monday night against Jackson

State as they look to recover from a rough week that caused them to

fall 14 spots to No. 22 in the AP poll.

Memphis (2-2) returns to FedExForum after dropping two of three

in the Maui Invitational, most recently falling 91-88 in overtime

to Georgetown in the fifth-place game Wednesday.

The Tigers opened the tournament with a 73-61 loss to then-No.

15 Michigan last Monday and had to go to double overtime the next

day to record their lone win, 99-97 over Tennessee.

“I told our guys in the locker room, it’s a long season,”

Pastner said. “This is November. This is why we played the four

games we’ve played so far to this point is to get challenged, see

what we’ve done well, see what we need to make adjustments on.”

Most of those adjustments appear to be needed on the defensive

end, with the Tigers barely outscoring opponents by an average of

86.3-85.5. Will Barton’s play, however, would seem to require

little tweaking.

Barton has topped 20 points and shot 52.9 percent or better in

three of the four games. His 19.8-point average is 6.5 higher than

the team’s next-best scorer, fellow sophomore guard Joe


Barton should have a good chance to maintain his lofty scoring

average during games against Jackson State (1-6) and Austin Peay

(0-7). Memphis will try to use those contests to prepare for next

month’s trips to Miami, No. 7 Louisville and Georgetown.

Jackson State has failed to beat its six Division I opponents

this season and is 1-13 in this series. Memphis senior swingman

Wesley Witherspoon and two of his teammates scored in double

figures during the most recent matchup, an 82-53 win Nov. 13,


Jackson State has been outscored by an average of 96.7-64.0

during the past three meetings, though it’s coming off a pair of

competitive defeats.

Following a six-point loss to Tulsa on Tuesday, Jackson State

allowed North Florida to pull away in the final two minutes of a

69-60 loss Friday. The team’s lone senior, guard Jenirro Bush,

matched a season high with 20 points in the last contest while

leading scorer Kelsey Howard added 16 for his fourth straight game

in double figures.

Sophomore forward Willie Readus had 10 points in 14 minutes

during his Jackson State debut.