Sports 56 WHBlog Q

March 27, 2009

Glendale, Day 2 (Missouri 102 Memphis 91)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Peter Edmiston @ 1:20 am

Look at that score.  Incredible performance from Missouri – their energy level was constant and really extraordinary.  It was the kind of showing that epitomizes what Mike Anderson teams are supposed to look like.  The 65-footer from Marcus Denmon summed it all up…it was just Missouri’s night.  It’s not often you see an impeccably-defended 65 foot shot go in without touching rim.  Missouri wanted it so badly and they played like warriors tonight.  Memphis simply could not match their intensity for 40 minutes.  J. T. Tiller was unstoppable – as good as Tyreke Evans was on offense, he (nor anyone else) could not keep Tiller from getting to the basket and scoring.  Before dissecting what went wrong for Memphis, fans should take a cue from the Tiger players and coaches and tip their hats to Missouri for a fine effort.

Now, for the breakdown.  The fact is that, by his own admission, Shawn Taggart was a “no-show” for the first half.  He told me that in the locker room after the game.  I applaud his honesty and I cannot disagree with his assessment of his performance.  Had he played in the first half like he did in the second, the Tigers might have pulled this one out.  He didn’t.  And that’s why you saw him with tears in his eyes on the bench after he fouled out.  He said that this loss was actually harder for him to take than last year’s national championship game.  He said they had played their hearts out last year, but this year was a bit different.

Antonio Anderson, in his final game as a Tiger, did not play particularly well until the end of the game; it was not unlike the Northridge game except for the outcome.  Robert Dozier lacked a bit of intensity to start, but rebounded to give a tremendous effort, particularly on the glass.  The seniors can be proud of the way the ended their careers.

The less said about Doneal Mack, the better.  Mack said that he got taken out of the game mentally.  It’s not the first time, unfortunately.  Mack is a great guy, but I just don’t know if you can ever truly count on him in the clutch.

Tyreke Evans was phenomenal.  He got to the basket at will – anytime he wanted to score, he could and did.  He finished with 33 points and was perfect from the free throw line.  He will be missed – he got better and better as the season progressed, and he was truly a leader on the court.  He had to move into an unfamiliar role and he eventually made it his own – but in this game, he needed more help from his teammates.

We can try to be philosophical about it, and wonder whether or not a tougher conference schedule would have better prepared this team for the incredible challenge they faced in Missouri.  We can wonder why this team had so much trouble playing with full intensity for 40 minutes.  We can question how deep this team truly was, considering how shallow the rotation was in this game. We can talk about the officials and how much of an impact they played.

But the fact is that Missouri was simply better.  They were the better team for 40 minutes.  They took a Memphis team ranked in the top 10 in virtually every defensive statistic and shredded them.  They scored 40 points more than the average team has scored against Memphis.  Memphis gave up 100+ points for the first time since 2000, when another Mike Anderson team (UAB) did it in John Calipari’s first season.  Missouri earned it.  They were great.

Now, the questions come.  We’ll talk about them soon enough.

Thanks to our great sponsors Ark Roofing, Acura of Memphis, and Central BBQ for all their support throughout the Tiger tournament coverage.



  1. Marcus (not Justin) Denman

    Comment by Nelson — March 27, 2009 @ 9:46 am

  2. Changed…thanks for the heads up – it was a long night.

    Comment by Peter Edmiston — March 27, 2009 @ 11:06 am

  3. Don’t you think some of the defensive stats can be somewhat misleading?? I know I sound like Jeff Wineberger, but, look at the schedule Memphis played. The Gonzaga win was nice, but I can’t think of another one besides that one. Tennessee underachieved so that win isn’t that impressive. I guess I’m of the opinion that Memphis’s record is more reflective of a weak schedule than it is of the talent of the team. Nice job with the blog and with your show.

    Comment by Chris — March 27, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

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