Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Fresh off their championship run in last
weekend's Old Spice Classic, the 16th-ranked Memphis Tigers attempt to keep
their success rolling on Saturday night when they take on the Northwestern
State Demons at FedExForum.
Northwestern State, the 2013 NCAA Tournament representative from the Southland
Conference, is off to a 3-3 start to the season. After capturing an impressive
111-92 win over Auburn on Nov. 13, the Demons slipped into a three-game losing
streak before snapping out of it at home last Saturday with a 107-100 triumph
After conquering Siena (87-60) and LSU (76-69) in the early rounds of the Old
Spice Classic, Memphis squared off with Oklahoma State in Sunday's
championship bout, and it avenged a loss to the Cowboys earlier in the year
(101-80) by claiming a 73-68 decision. The Tigers are now 5-1 on the season,
including 2-0 at FedExForum, where they'll play four of their next five games.
Memphis has beaten Northwestern State on all five previous occasions, most
recently downing the Demons in November of 2010, 94-79.
In what has become a theme in the early going, the Demons were able to outlast
Niagara in their latest outing by making a lofty 59.1 percent of their field
goal tries, even though their 3-point attempts (6-of-20) did not fall with
much regularity. Jalan West sparked the team coming off the bench with 20
points and 10 assists, while DeQuan Hicks was also outstanding with 22 points.
Zikiteran Woodley tallied 17 points and eight boards, Sabri Thompson added 13
points, and Brison White chipped in 11 points to the balanced effort.
Northwestern State's up-tempo attack has both its advantages and its
drawbacks, as it has both one of the best scoring offenses in the country
(89.7 ppg), as well as one of the worst scoring defenses (90.8 ppg). West is
the top scoring option with 18.0 points per game, and he also gets his
teammates involved with 5.5 assists per outing. Hicks (15.0 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 1.2
bpg) is a mainstay in the front court, while Woodley (14.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and
White (12.8 ppg) are also off to fast starts.
Trailing Oklahoma State by two midway through the second half earlier in the
week, Memphis responded with a 6-0 run to take a lead it would not relinquish.
It was able to overcome a lackluster performance at the foul line (12-of-24)
by shooting 47.5 percent from the field, as well as winning the turnover
battle, 12-9. The catalyst in the title tilt was Shaq Goodwin, who logged 17
points and eight rebounds, to go with two blocks and two steals. Chris
Crawford poured in 16 points, Michael Dixon, Jr. added 12 in a reserve role,
and Joe Jackson tallied 11 points and eight rebounds. It's no surprise that
the Tigers are the nation's 16th-ranked team when analyzing their stats. Not
only do they score 13.8 points per game more than they allow, but they also
boast an eye-popping +6.0 turnover margin. Joe Jackson (14.2 ppg, 3.5 apg) and
Dixon, Jr. (11.2 ppg) bring senior leadership to the squad, while Austin
Nichols (12.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) is off to a great start to his freshman season.
Goodwin (11.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Crawford (10.2 ppg) are regular contributors
The Sports Network