By Don Phillips
Memphis Tigers (12-5, 3-1 American) at Cincinnati Bearcats (13-6, 3-3 American)
Thursday, Jan. 21 • 7 p.m. (ET)
Entering the week, Cincinnati ranks among the nation’s leaders in fewest fouls committed (11th at 15.9), scoring defense (12th at 61.3 points allowed), blocks (24th at 5.4) and steals (25th at 8.4).
Gary Clark ranks nationally in offensive rebounds (13th at 3.95) and total rebounds (32nd at 167). He is listed among league leaders in offensive rebounds (second at 3.9), rebounds (fifth at 8.8), field-goal percentage (fifth at .598), blocks (11th at 1.1) and steals (12th at 1.2).
Farad Cobb leads the Bearcats in scoring (11.9 points per game) and ranks 20th in the nation in three-point shooting percentage (.455). He is listed among the league leaders in three-pointers made (third at 2.7), steals (third at 1.5) and points (21st at 11.9).
Cincinnati’s defense has improved in January, allowing only 58.6 points per game. That’s down from 69.9 points allowed during December. Saturday’s 67-65 double-overtime loss at Temple marked the first time this month the opposition has scored 60 or more points. The Owls had 56 points at the end of regulation.
The Bearcats still feature one of the nation’s best defenses, allowing only 61.3 points this season – ranked 11th in the country through Jan. 16. The Bearcats also rank nationally in total steals (12th with 159), steals per game (25th at 8.4), offensive rebounds (20th at 14.0) and blocks (27th at 5.4).
The Bearcats have held their opponents under 70 points in 52 of the last 57 games dating back to the 2013-14 season and in 109 of the last 121 contests (90.1 percent) since the start of the 2012-13 campaign.
The Bearcats have held their opponents under 50 percent shooting from the field in 145 of 158 games (91.8 percent) dating back to the start of the 2011-12 season.
UC has won 54 of its last 58 when scoring 60 or more points. The Bearcats are 45-4 under Cronin when holding the opponent to 50 or fewer points.
Memphis (12-5, 3-1) enters tonight’s game having won back-to-back games and five of its last six. The Tigers rank among the American leaders in rebounds (1st at 43.0), field-goal percentage defense (first at .363), blocks (first at 6.8) steals (first at 8.5), three-point percentage defense (second at .302), turnover margin (+3.35) and free-throw percentage (second at .729).
Four players average double figures led by freshman Dedric Lawson (sixth in league at 14.5 points). He also ranks among the conference leaders in rebounds (third at 8.9), blocks (third at 2.1), offensive rebounds (fourth at 3.3), defensive rebounds (fifth at 5.6) and steals (seventh at 1.3).
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