Evans, Memphis club Marist early and oftenDec 3, 2008 - 6:54 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- This was just how Chuck Martin remembered it. This time, however, he was on the other half of the sideline.
Freshman standout Tyreke Evans scored 18 of his season-high 24 points in the first half as 15th-ranked Memphis started fast and finished strong in an easy 100-61 victory over Martin and Marist on Tuesday.
Shawn Taggart added 21 points and 12 rebounds for the Tigers (5-1), who outscored the Red Foxes, 32-9, to start the game. They led by as many as 40 in the second half.
"I kind of felt bad that it got where it was for Chuck, but I'm worried about my team right now and Chuck's going to be fine. His team is going to be fine," Memphis coach John Calipari said.
"If we had played this way down in Puerto Rico, we would have probably had a better chance of winning that last game (a 63-58 loss to Xavier on Sunday)."
The game-opening flourish was part of a rude return for first-year Marist coach Martin, who spent the previous two seasons as an assistant under Calipari at Memphis.
Martin had a hand in the recruitment of Evans, who was 10-of-13 from the field and added seven rebounds. He had notched previous season bests with 19 points in each of his last two contests.
"I liked how Tyreke played tonight," Calipari said. "He messed with the ball about three of four times, opposed to every time. So, the rest of the time he scored, got to the rim."
The most-memorable part of Martin's tenure came last season, when the Tigers were the national runners-up, losing to Kansas in the championship game.
Martin, for his part, admitted that he took a lot from that experience.
"The biggest thing is getting our players to play really, really hard, coaching, obviously recruiting and improving our talent over the next three years," Martin said of what he learned from his former boss.
"It is really to get them to play hard and compete every night. Then, when you bring the more talented players in, those guys will understand what you're about and what your program is about."
Martin used that success to land the job at mid-major Marist, which lost popular coach Matt Brady and five of its top six scorers from last season, including emerging guard Jay Gavin, who transferred to Virginia Commonwealth.
"Experience for my kids. My kids are young," Martin said when asked what his team learned from the drubbing. "We had six scholarship kids when I came in and took the job. We brought five more guys in. Of the returning kids, one kid played last year, David Devezin."
A member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, the Red Foxes were quickly outmanned and saddled with a 51-24 deficit at halftime in this one.
Memphis was sparked by Evans - not NBA No. 1 overall pick Derrick Rose as Martin remembers it - who made seven of his eight shots in the first half to put his squad comfortably ahead.
Despite being on the losing side, Martin said he felt a bit of pride.
"It's hard because a lot of those guys, I spent (two) years with them," the coach said. "I can honestly say that I know those guys, and we went through battles with those guys. Willie Kemp is my boy.
"I recruited Wesley Witherspoon for eight months. Tyreke Evans and Shawn Taggart, those are my guys, and when I see them out there I wish them luck, but I wanted to compete. You spend (two) years with those guys so there was a bond that we had that people can't take away."
The Tigers went on cruise control in the second half, outscoring the Red Foxes, 49-37 - a relatively competitive margin in this obvious mismatch.
Devezin scored 11 points and Ryan Schneider and Lawrence Williams each collected 10 points and nine rebounds for Marist (2-4), which shot just 34 percent (21-of-61).
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