MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Tigers have proven to be a resilient team time in and time out to start the 2022-2023 NCAA Men's Basketball season, overcoming deficits and their own mistakes.
The start to American Athletic Conference play against the USF Bulls looked like it was going to be a major disappointment for Penny Hardaway's squad halfway through the second half as USF - led by former Tiger Tyler Harris - commanded a 10-point lead thanks to Harris's resurgent second half and solid shooting from three-point range.
Kendric Davis and the Tigers decided that was enough. After surrendering their own nine-point lead in the first half, the Tigers surged back against the Bulls, sealing the comeback with three straight steals from Davis, who finished the game with five overall to complement 24 points and nine assists.
Alex Lomax and DeAndre Williams each added 16 points, Williams adding seven rebounds and Lomax with six assists.
Harris, whom coach Penny Hardaway spoke about his last days with Memphis this week, was ever-present in the second half after being held scoreless in the first, finishing with 17 points, five rebounds and three assists.
The Bulls' leading scorer was Serrel Smith Jr. with 21 points.
The Tigers started the game shooting 2-11 from three-point range, a clear disadvantage to USF's 9-23, but ended the game two-for-three, hitting two clutch threes to take the lead.
Memphis heads to Tulane on Sunday, New Year's Day, for their first road conference game of the season. They will hope to improve after a shaky performance to start the second half threatened to derail their promising start to the season, just outside the bubble of the Top 25.