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
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
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.