GAME NOTES: The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will have their hands full on Saturday as they tangle with the Memphis Tigers in a Conference USA tilt at FedExForum.
Danny Manning's Golden Hurricane came close, but ended up on the losing end of a 62-59 final score against Southern Miss on Tuesday. The setback dropped Tulsa to a 12-9 overall record. The Golden Hurricane averages 65.5 points and 36.1 rebounds per game, while it allows 63.4 points and 33.5 rebounds per contest. Freshman guard James Woodard has wasted no time making his mark on Tulsa's program. The rookie is producing 13.2 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 2.2 assists per tilt, while senior guard Scottie Haralson adds 9.6 points and 3.7 boards a game.
The Tigers continued to roll on Wednesday as they took down East Carolina, 75-68, in Greenville for their 11th consecutive victory. Josh Pastner's squad is beginning to receive votes for the top 25 as it has built an impressive 17-3 overall record with the three setbacks coming to Virginia Commonwealth, Minnesota, and Louisville. The Cardinals were the only team of 13 visitors to win at FedExForum this season. The Tigers and Southern Miss are the only two remaining schools in the C-USA without a loss in league action entering the weekend.
This is the 35th meeting between Tulsa and Memphis. The Tigers hold the series lead, 21-13, but the Golden Hurricane won the last meeting at FedExForum, 68-65, in 2011. Memphis managed to pick up a 78-66 victory last season in Tulsa. Prior to TU's win in 2011, Memphis had won 12 in a row in the series since 2006.
Pat Swilling, Jr. continued to play well for the Golden Hurricane against USM, leading the team with 14 points courtesy of a 4-of-9 clip from 3-point range. Swilling, Jr. has scored 12.6 ppg and knocked down 10 treys over his last three games. Woodard posted 13 points and seven rebounds for Tulsa as it went 16- of-46 from the floor versus the Golden Eagles.
Memphis is outscoring its opposition by an average margin of 9.8 points per contest due to its strong core of talent. Joe Jackson has played steady at point guard one again and is netting 14.6 points and 4.6 assists per outing for Memphis while Adonis Thomas (10.6 ppg), Tarik Black ( 9.7 ppg, 4.9 rpg), and Geron Johnson (9.8 ppg) are talented scoring agents as well. Freshman forward Shaq Goodwin also makes an impact due to the tremendous inside presence he provides, which was very helpful against ECU's big man Maurice Kemp, who went 6-of-17 from the floor in the bout against the Tigers' big rookie.
Tulsa could not handle the physicality of the Golden Eagles in its last outing. This one will be no easier, as the Tigers are a very athletic and aggressive unit. Pastner's team rarely loses at home, making a Golden Hurricane upset highly unlikely.
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