No. 6 Alabama Upset By Unranked Memphis Behind DeAndre Williams' 20 Points

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2021

Memphis's DeAndre Williams (12) goes up for a basket in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Alabama on Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht)
AP Photo/Karen Pulfer Focht

The Memphis Tigers men's basketball team needed a win, and they got a big one Tuesday.

Memphis defeated No. 6 Alabama 92-78 in a high-profile inter-conference showdown. The victory snapped an ugly four-game losing streak for the Tigers that seemed to suggest they were a borderline tournament team instead of one capable of competing for a national title.

DeAndre Williams led a balanced attack with 20 points, six assists, three rebounds, three steals and one block as one of five players to score in double figures for the victors.

Jalen Duren (14 points and six boards) and Landers Nolley II (13 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals) also impressed, while Lester Quinones and Tyler Harris provided a spark off the bench.

Memphis was also dialed in on the defensive side for extended stretches and forced 20 Crimson Tide turnovers while holding the SEC team to 10-of-33 (30.3 percent) from deep. Keon Ellis (19 points) was the only Alabama player to score more than 12 in the loss.

The Tigers came into the campaign with elevated expectations, especially after head coach Penny Hardaway brought in the No. 1 overall recruiting class in 2021, per 247Sports' composite rankings.

Things seemed to be going as expected when they started 5-0 and defeated Virginia Tech from the ACC, but they lost to Iowa State, Georgia, Ole Miss and Murray State prior to the bounce-back effort against the Crimson Tide.

Not only did the win bring the losing streak to an end, but it also prevented the situation from potentially spiraling since next up for Memphis is a challenging game against No. 18 Tennessee on Saturday.

As for Alabama, it is still off to a solid start at 8-2 and has high-profile wins against Gonzaga and Houston bolstering its resume. It will look to get back in the win column Saturday with a matchup against Jacksonville State.