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December 28, 2011

New ‘motto' looks to spur Tigers after holiday break

During their recent slump albeit not quite a losing streak, but one in where they haven't played the best basketball as of late, the University of Memphis Tigers (6-5) have had some glaring problems.

Some problems have been poor shooting from the field, defensive rebounding, players getting in foul trouble and team chemistry. But one particular stat figures to be the brunt of the many miscues of the Tigers - and that's turnovers. And third-year head coach Josh Pastner says he may have the remedy to turn around the recent struggling Tigers squad.

"Our number one thing that we've been talking about is valuing every possession like it's our last," Pastner said. That's out new motto. We've got to have carryover from our practices to the games. And starting tomorrow at 6 pm. we have to value the first possession from the opening tip, to the second possession, the third and so on."

Pastner says his team has been having good practices, but for some reason, the practices haven't resonated to the court. The players had two-a-days on Monday and Tuesday, but on Wednesday it was time to prepare for a tough Robert Morris team that comes into FedExForum with a 10-3 record.

"They (Robert Morris) are a very tough team that likes to get after it," sophomore guard Will Barton said. "They like to trap and they rebound the ball well. They are very well coached and disciplined - we have to be ready to play."

Pastner feels that Robert Morris is very similar to a Murray State team that came into Memphis and knocked off the Tigers a little over two weeks ago. But as long as the players take care of the ball and don't become too anxious, then the Tigers should get their seventh win of the season.

"I think we have been playing too anxious, trying not to turn the ball over and be too unselfish, Barton said. "The way we've playing lately can be a multitude of things. But if we take every possession more seriously, we'll be fine.

Senior guard Charles Carmouche who has missed the last five games due to suspension and then injury, should see some playing time against the Colonials. He has fully participated in practice this week and Pastner says he expects him to contribute.

"Charles practiced twice on Monday, twice on Tuesday and barring any unforeseen problems or injury, I expected him to be ready against Robert Morris," Pastner said. "It's obvious that he's an excellent outside shooter, but he will also bring good defense and rebounding to help our team."


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