Josh Pastner may need to rethink these island getaways around Thanksgiving. For the second straight year, his Tigers laced them up for a tropical tournament . . . and got slapped with a loss to open play. A year ago, it was Michigan by 12 in Maui. This evening, it was VCU by 13 in Nassau, Bahamas. The quarterfinal defeat leaves Memphis (2-1) in the losers' bracket of the Battle 4 Atlantis, where they'll play Minnesota on Friday.
The Tigers didn't score over the game's first three minutes and never so much as tied the game once falling behind. Ten turnovers over the game's first 11 minutes helped stake the Rams to a 22-13 lead and by halftime the Tigers trailed, 42-28.
The Tigers rode a 17-8 stretch over the first seven minutes of the second half to close the VCU lead to five. Despite losing Joe Jackson to foul trouble shortly after halftime, Memphis was able to match the Rams' pace and keep the game tight. Jump hooks from Shaq Goodwin and Tarik Black sandwiched a VCU free throw with under five minutes to play to make the score 63-61. But the Rams answered with a 12-0 run, keyed by consecutive three pointers from Rob Brandenberg (who drained all five of his trey attempts for the game).
Adonis Thomas led the Tigers with 19 points, with Black adding 12 and Chris Crawford 10. Treveon Graham led VCU with 26 points, followed by Brandenberg with 15.
VCU, now 3-1, will face Duke in tomorrow's semifinals.