MEMPHIS — Talk about a first impression.
Doubt you could have asked for much more than what the Tigers’ two heralded freshman did Tuesday night in the U of M’s season opening win over Tennessee Tech.
Emoni Bates and Jalen Duren sharing the spotlight and stealing the show.
Whether it was Bates stepping into a transition three or Duren owning the inside, Penny Hardaway’s two, five star talents dominated in their season debuts.
Bates with a game high 17 points, knocking down four of the Tigers 13 3-pointers.
Duren, well, he was just ballin’ inside to the tune of 15 points, 6 rebounds, five blocks and two assists.
Both playing over 30 minutes.
First game jitters…nope and to hear their teammates talk, you shouldn’t be surprised either.
“It didn’t surprise me but it’s very exciting to see them come in and make a statement like that. I knew they was capable but to actually see it, it just shows you all their potential,” said Tigers forward DeAndre Williams. “They’ve been doing this. They’ve been top players and things like that so, they’re just doing what they do. I feel they’re going to do that for us, all season.”
“With it being our first game, me and him knew that we kind of had to leave a good first impression,” Duren said. “I don’t get butterflies before games. I’ve been doing it. It’s just, it’s basketball. I get excited. I get real anxious. I just like to get out there and play.”
Duren and Bates get to play again on Saturday when the 12th ranked Tigers host North Carolina Central.