Wednesday , Dec , 06 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Intrastate rivals clash in Knoxville

Knoxville, TN (Sports Network) – A pair of instate rivals hook up in
Knoxville tonight, as the 16th-ranked Memphis Tigers tangle with the
Tennessee Volunteers in non-conference action from Thompson-Boling Arena.

Since suffering a 92-85 loss to Georgia Tech in the semifinals of the Maui
Invitational, the Tigers have ripped off four straight victories, including
a 78-59 triumph over Marshall in their Conference USA opener on Monday.
With the recent string of victories, Memphis now stands at 6-1 overall,
although this will be its first true road game of the season. The Tigers own
an all-time record of just 36-49 in road openers, but they have won their
last three.

As for Tennessee, it also enters the game on a winning note following an
89-64 thumping of Murray State on Friday. It was the second straight
victory for the Vols, who improved to 6-2 overall and 3-0 at home.

Tonight’s game marks the 18th all-time meeting between these two schools,
with Tennessee holding a 10-7 edge in the series. Memphis however, has won
the past two meetings, including an 88-79 triumph last season at the FedEx

The Tigers have enjoyed success with their up-tempo style of play that has
them averaging a healthy 84.9 ppg on 46.0 percent shooting from the floor this
season. Chris Douglas-Roberts currently leads this potent attack with 14.7
ppg, and he is also grabbing 4.9 rpg. Robert Dozier ranks second on the squad
in both scoring (12.7 ppg) and rebounding (6.7 rpg), while Jeremy Hunt chips
in with 12.6 ppg off the bench. In the team’s last game, Douglas-Roberts and
Dozier combined for 30 points and nine rebounds in leading Memphis to an easy
win over Marshall. The Tigers shot 41.9 percent from the floor in the game and
scored 26 points off 17 Marshall turnovers. Memphis has done a tremendous job
in forcing its opponents into mistakes this season, as it is generating 20.9
turnovers per game.

The Vols are similar to Memphis in that they also like to push the tempo, and
that is a big reason why the team is averaging a solid 80.5 ppg off 44.0
percent shooting from the field. Chris Lofton is the team’s top scorer at the
moment with 18.6 ppg and he is knocking down 48.4 percent from long distance.
JaJuan Smith is next with 13.6 ppg and he is also a threat at the other end of
the court, posting 19 steals thus far. In the squad’s previous outing, Lofton
poured in 20 points in leading Tennessee to an easy win over Murray State.
Smith added 10 points and three steals for the Vols, who shot 43.5 percent
from the field, including an 11-of-28 performance from beyond the arc.