Memphis-Miami Preview

Associated Press  |  Last updated December 05, 2011
While Memphis nearly set a school mark for 3-pointers in its last game, coach Josh Pastner doesn't expect the Tigers to rely too much on shots from beyond the arc. That might be a good idea against Miami. The 21st-ranked Tigers go for their third consecutive victory Tuesday night when the Hurricanes look to extend their home winning streak in non-conference play to 28. After averaging 14.0 3-point attempts in its first five games, Memphis (4-2) hit 15 of 25 from long range in Saturday's 91-60 victory over Austin Peay. Led by five 3s from freshman Adonis Thomas and three apiece from Chris Crawford and Will Barton, who finished with a game-high 22 points, the Tigers fell one shy of the program record set in 2004 against Marquette. "I thought our shots were good. We were in rhythm," Pastner said. "Our team is not going to live and die by the 3. But we are going to take open shots." Memphis may not get many of those in Coral Gables. Miami (5-2) is holding teams to 27.6 percent shooting from long distance in the last four games after opponents hit 41.0 percent in the first three. "We've improved in that area, and we've got to continue to do that," coach Jim Larranaga said following Saturday's 83-75 victory over Massachusetts. Shane Larkin has plenty of room to grow, but Larranaga likes the direction the freshman point guard is heading. Making his first start Saturday, Larkin hit a pair of 3s and scored 14 points. He made four 3s with a season-high 16 points in the previous game, a 76-65 loss at Purdue on Nov. 29. "We have two high-level guards in Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott, and (Larkin is) right there with them," Larranaga said. That's high praise, as Grant and Scott are averaging a combined 30.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 5.1 assists. The Tigers' backcourt of Barton, Crawford and Joe Jackson, who had a team-best 17 points in a 72-68 home win over Miami on Nov. 15, 2010, should be prepared for plenty of pressure from Miami's backcourt after the Hurricanes set season highs with 27 free throws made and 36 attempted Saturday. Scott scored all 16 of his points from the foul line while grabbing six boards and dishing out six assists. He hit 9 of 11 free throws and scored a team-high 20 points last season at Memphis. Barton had just one point off the bench in that matchup - the first between these teams since Miami's 66-57 home win Dec. 21, 2000 - but the sophomore will likely play a bigger role Tuesday. He had six assists Saturday to go with a career-high 13 rebounds. The Tigers had been outrebounded in four of their first five games before setting a season high with 42. "Every time we are lacking in an area, I feel like me, being the leader and the go-to player, I've got to go fix the problem, and put a lot of weight on myself," Barton said. Memphis was outrebounded 51-31 and shot 4 for 18 from 3-point range in last season's matchup versus Miami. The Tigers have won seven of 12 against the Hurricanes. Their only victory in five trips to Miami was 83-82 in overtime on Feb. 11, 1991. The Hurricanes' last non-conference home loss was against Ohio State on Dec. 2, 2008.
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