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Northwestern State (1-1) at (19) Memphis (2-0)
Wednesday, November 17th, 8:05 p.m. (et)
The Sports Network
By Pat Taggart, Associate College Basketball Editor
FACTS & STATS: Site: FedExForum (18,400) -- Memphis, Tennessee. Television: None. Home Record: Northwestern State 1-0, Memphis 2-0. Away Record: Northwestern State 0-1, Memphis 0-0. Neutral Record: Northwestern State 0-0, Memphis 0-0. Conference Record: Northwestern State 0-0, Memphis 0-0. Series Record: Memphis leads, 4-0.
GAME NOTES: The 19th-ranked Memphis Tigers will attempt to avoid an upset this evening, as the Northwestern State Demons come to town.
Northwestern State put up a fight in the season opener against LSU on Friday, falling by just nine points on the road. The Demons were able to even their record at 1-1 on Monday with an 87-78 decision over Houston Baptist.
The Tigers opened the season on Friday with a 104-40 romp over Centenary. Monday's matchup with Miami was much more competitive, and Memphis showed a great deal of toughness to emerge with a 72-68 victory. Josh Pastner is in his second year as the leader of the Tigers and hopes to lead Memphis back to supremacy in Conference USA.
Memphis has won all four of its previous meetings with Northwestern State.
In the victory over Houston Baptist on Monday, Northwestern State played far from perfect. The team misfired on 13 of its 25 free throws and turned the ball over 17 times. Also, the Demons were outrebounded by a 57-41 margin. Fortunately, Northwestern State was able to connect on 33 field goals, eight more than the opposition, and the Demons knocked down nine three-pointers. The key to the victory, even more so than the field goal differential, was that NWSU forced 30 turnovers, leading to a 32-10 advantage in points off turnovers. Devon Baker scored a team-high 19 points in the triumph and came up with five steals, while both Louis Ellis and Will Pratt both tallied 17 points. In the opener against LSU, Northwestern State got 29 points from Will Pratt, and all four double-digit scorers for the Demons in that contest were reserves.
In the thrilling victory over Miami on Monday, Memphis shot just 33.9 percent from the floor, including 4-of-22 from three-point range. Fortunately, the squad played tremendous defense, holding the Hurricanes to 32.8 percent shooting, including 3-of-19 from behind the arc. The Tigers were outrebounded by a staggering 51-31 margin, but they forced 18 turnovers and earned a 30-25 edge in points from the foul line. Obviously, the effort was far from perfect, but Pastner's group found a way to get it done. Joe Jackson led the way in the victory with 17 points, and Charles Marmouche added 13 points. Wesley Witherspoon, the team's top returnee, tallied 12 points, 10 of which came from the charity stripe. In the opener against Centenary, Memphis shot 55 percent from the field while holding the opposition to 26.1 percent efficiency, but the disparity in talent between the two teams was vast.
Expect Memphis to get the job done tonight, disposing of Northwestern State by double figures. The Tigers will lead from wire to wire.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Memphis 83, Northwestern 64
11/17 11:16:03 ET
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