Friday, March 16, 2012

NCAAs: Saint Louis 61, Memphis 54

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 8:04 PM

This one will sting for a while. A Memphis team that entered the 2011-12 season with talk of a top-10 ranking and a deep NCAA tournament run walked off the floor in Columbus, Ohio, losers — for the second year in a row — in its opening game of the Big Dance. The loss finishes the Tigers' season with a record of 26-9 and a drought of three years without a win in college basketball's premier event.

Billiken guard Kwamain Mitchell wasn't quite Bill Walton, vintage 1973, but he did hit nine of 14 shots, including four of seven from three-point country (including a desperation bank-shot as time expired in the first half to tie the game). Mitchell finished with a game-high 22 points. He was complemented by Brian Conklin with 16 (including 10 of 11 from the free-throw line).

sad-tiger.jpg

The build-up to the game focused on the contrasting styles: Memphis as up-tempo, Saint Louis preferring a halfcourt affair. Among the nation's stingiest defenses, Saint Louis held the Tigers to their lowest point total of the season. A U of M team that shot just under 50 percent over 34 games was held to 39 percent tonight. Despite the misfiring, Memphis led by eight points (37-29) with 11:40 to play in the game, only to see the Billikens make a 14-2 run over a six-minute stretch to seize control.

Will Barton scored 16 points to lead the Tigers. (The sophomore guard finished the season with 631 points, the 10th-most for a season in Memphis history.) But Chris Crawford and Joe Jackson combined to make only four of 18 shots. Worse still, foul trouble once again reduced Tiger center Tarik Black to a spectator. He had four points and four rebounds in 19 minutes on the floor. The Tigers missed 13 of the 15 shots they took from behind the three-point line.

Saint Louis coach Rick Majerus — 30 years older than Tiger coach Josh Pastner — improves to 11-1 in opening games of the NCAA tournament. The win is the first for the Billikens in the tournament since 1998.

Keep the Flyer Free!

Always independent, always free (never a paywall),
the Memphis Flyer is your source for the best in local news and information.

Now we want to expand and enhance our work.
That's why we're asking you to join us as a Frequent Flyer member.

You'll get membership perks (find out more about those here) and help us continue to deliver the independent journalism you've come to expect.


Favorite

Comments (6)

Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-6 of 6

Add a comment

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Readers also liked…

Most Commented On

Top Commenters

ADVERTISEMENT
© 1996-2018

Contemporary Media
460 Tennessee Street, 2nd Floor | Memphis, TN 38103
Visit our other sites: Memphis Magazine | Memphis Parent | Inside Memphis Business
Powered by Foundation