MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Two weeks ago, the idea of playing walk-ons in a conference game was an afterthought for the Memphis Tigers, but in a 73-49 blow out win against UConn on Tuesday night, Tigers head coach Tubby Smith did just that.
With a little under four minutes left in the game, the Tigers led by 30 points.
So out came the starters, and in came the guys who don't usually see the court.
"Those kids work as hard as anybody," Smith said with a grin on his face as he thanked the reporter who asked about the walk-ons playing. "They don't get any recognition. I'm glad you brought it up, really. You're not going to find a better group of kids."
Martin, Parks Keep The Streak Alive
Without Jeremiah Martin and Mike Parks career nights, the walk-ons would have stayed on the bench.
Martin continued his hot play, scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds.
It was the first time Martin picked up double digit rebounds in his Tigers career, and it helped Memphis win its fourth straight game.
This was also Martin's fourth straight double digit scoring performance.
"I think we're locked in as a group and as a whole," Martin said.
"Going about things more seriously. We're just executing the game plan and trusting what we go over in practice, and we're just carrying it over to the game."
Parks also scored 21 points and picked up 11 rebounds.
He earned the first double-double of his Tigers career on Tuesday night, and now has four straight games with double digit scoring performances under his belt.
Parks' success has changed his whole demeanor. He's smiling more and looks a lot more comfortable on the floor.
"I was happy man," Parks said.
"You got to have fun playing this game. If you're not having fun, I don't know what you're doing."
The Tigers owned the game on all facets.
Memphis out rebounded UConn 38 to 23.
The Tigers also forced 17 turnovers, and held the Huskies to just 37 percent shooting overall.
Memphis shot 50 percent overall.
The Tigers did a great job in limiting UConn's leading scorer Jalen Adams as well, who only scored 11 points.
Huskies guard Josh Carlton led UConn with 15 points and nine rebounds.
"We just had to stay on him hard," Parks said about Adams.
"We couldn't let him do nothing. Give him no space or nothing like that. Pick and rolls we had to be up there a certain way, and it all worked out in the end."
Memphis returns to action on Saturday, January 20 at Tulsa.
The Tigers four-game win streak started against the Golden Hurricane two weeks ago at FedExForum in a 76-67 win.
Tip off is set for 7 p.m.