Houston-Memphis Preview

The Associated Press

Paced by some recent strong play from sophomore swingman Adonis Thomas, Memphis is in the midst of the second-longest active winning streak in Division I.

Hoping to remain undefeated in Conference USA, the No. 21 Tigers try for a 17th straight victory while looking to continue their home dominance over Houston on Wednesday night.

Thomas scored a career-high 23 points and equaled a career best with 10 rebounds in a 71-59 win at Marshall on Saturday.

Riding their longest winning streak since a 27-game run in 2008-09, the Tigers (22-3, 11-0) have not lost since an 87-78 home defeat to then-No. 6 Louisville on Dec. 15. They can match Division I's longest current win streak of 17 games held by Akron, which does not play until Friday.

Memphis has been particularly impressive over the past three games, shooting 53.2 percent while winning by an average of 15.6 points. The Tigers forced 20 turnovers Saturday and held the Thundering Herd to 38.2 percent shooting to continue their best league start since going 16-0 in 2009.

"We've got a streak going and we want to keep it alive," Thomas said. "Everybody's excited. We need to keep playing with the same amount of intensity, the same amount of heart and stay out there focused. Everybody's doing a great job and contributing."

Thomas has scored in double figures in a career-high four consecutive games, going 15 of 17 at the free-throw line. His average of 16.3 points in that span is nearly five above his season mark, and he's pulled down at least nine boards in two of those games.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner was pleased with Thomas' performance Saturday, especially on the glass.

"I challenged Adonis and told him that he needed to come up with 10 rebounds (Saturday) and he was a monster in both halves," Pastner said. "He played at an extremely high level and he continues to get better."

Thomas and the Tigers could be in for another big night with Wednesday's visit from Houston (15-9, 4-7), has lost 11 straight at Memphis by an average of 13.4 points.

The Cougars have allowed 84.4 points per game while going 1-4 on the road in conference play. Houston scored five points in the final 8 seconds of regulation Saturday to force overtime at Tulsa, but fell 101-92 in triple-overtime - its second straight road game decided in overtime.

"We have to get better," coach James Dickey said. "I'm so proud of our guys competing. I despise the way the game turned out from our end, but I'm proud of our guys and how they competed. They left it all on the court."

TaShawn Thomas had 31 points with 15 rebounds and Joseph Young scored 25, but the Cougars shot 36.6 percent overall and 7 of 28 from 3-point range.

Among the league leaders in scoring (16.9 ppg), field-goal percentage (53.4) and rebounding (9.9 rpg), Thomas has averaged 25.0 points and 11.3 boards in the last three games. He was held to six points and five rebounds in last season's 89-55 home loss to Memphis in the teams' most recent meeting.

Young (17.3 ppg), who has scored at least 25 in two of three, was held to two points on 1-of-5 shooting in that contest.

Memphis' Chris Crawford scored 19 and Joe Jackson added 16 versus Houston last season. Jackson is averaging a team-high 13.8 points.

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