MEMPHIS, TN – Little Rock raced out to a fast lead on 16th-ranked Memphis, but a 23-6 run by the Tigers gave them a 10 point second half lead. Little Rock was able to pull within two on a pair of occasions but could never get out of the hole, falling to the Tigers 68-58 at the FedEx Forum.
“We had our chances, but I don’t care who you are playing – if you turn the ball over 26 times, you’re not going to win the game,” said head coach Darrell Walker. “It’s frustrating because we put ourselves in a position to make a statement but just couldn’t get it done. I knew we wouldn’t be intimidated, but (Memphis’) guard play was the difference in the game tonight.”
• As alluded to by coach Walker, Little Rock committed 26 turnovers on the night, leading to 21 Memphis points as well as a 26-14 edge in fast break points.
• For the game, Little Rock shot 42.9% from the floor and limited the Tigers to just 38.7%, holding Memphis 23 points under its season average of 91 points per game. But the Trojans were just 3-of-10 from three point range and 13-of-24 from the free throw line (54.2%).
• Four players scored in double figures for Little Rock, led by 16 from Markquis Nowell who played all but 18 seconds. He grabbed five rebounds, had four steals and dished out three assists, but was credited with 10 turnovers on the night.
• Ruot Monyyong and Ben Coupet Jr. each finished with 12 points with Monyyong grabbing nine rebounds and Coupet accounting for seven as the duo each went 5-for-10 from the floor.
• Kamani Johnson snagged his second double-double of the year, finishing with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds with four assists. But Johnson was frustrated inside, shooting just 2-of-13 from the floor in his 38 minutes.
• Four Trojans played 35 or more minutes in the game, led by 40 from Ben Coupet, 39:42 from Nowell and 38:13 for Kamani Johnson.
• Little Rock falls to 0-8 all-time against the Tigers but in each of the last three years have had a one possession game with less than four minutes to go on Memphis’ home court.
First Half Notes
• Little Rock took control early, scoring the first nine points and holding the Tigers scoreless for the first 5:31 as Memphis missed its first nine shots from the floor. Ben Coupet Jr. scored five of the first nine points for the Trojans during the run.
• Both teams struggled from the floor through the first 10 minutes, combining to shoot just 7-of-20. The Trojans and Tigers each had six turnovers through the first half of the opening stanza as Memphis began a press after falling behind 9-0.
• After Memphis pulled to within four at 10:51, Little Rock used an 8-4 run to extend its lead back to seven at 19-12 with 7:59 remaining. Memphis then responded with a pair of threes, followed by a transition dunk and a turnover as the Tigers took their first lead of the game at 20-19 with 4:24 remaining in the opening half.
• Memphis closed the first half on a 16-4 run, taking the 28-23 lead after forcing 14 Trojan turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
• Little Rock made just 10 of 25 from the floor in the opening half (40.0%) and was 1-of-3 from three point range (33.3%). The Trojans also struggled from the free throw line, making just two of seven attempts as Jaizec Lottie went 0-for-5 from the stripe.
Second Half Notes
• Memphis used a 7-2 run to build a 10-point lead early in the second half at 35-25. But the Tigers picked up seven team fouls within the first three and a half minutes, putting the Trojans in the bonus early.
• The Trojans were able to claw to within five on a pair of occasions, including at the 12:57 mark off a tip-in by Ruot Monyyong and a steal and score from Markquis Nowell to cut the deficit 41-36.
• Little Rock continued to chip away at the Tiger lead, pulling to within two at 50-48 off a jumper from Ben Coupet Jr. with 7:34 remaining, then again at 55-53 off a three from Markquis Nowell with 5:37 to go.
• Turnovers on three-straight possessions led to six points for the Tigers on the other end, breaking out to a 62-54 lead with just over three minutes to play to help solidify the win for the 16th-ranked Tigers.
• Little Rock concluded its three game road trip in Raleigh, North Carolina, taking on NC State Saturday afternoon. The matchup against the Wolfpack tips at 12 p.m. CT from PNC Arena with the game streaming live on ACC Network +.