Friday, March 22, 2019

NIT: Creighton 79, Tigers 67

Posted By on Fri, Mar 22, 2019 at 9:46 PM

The first season of the Coach Penny Hardaway Era at Memphis is in the books. The Tigers' season came to a close Friday night in Omaha, Nebraska, at the hands of the Creighton Bluejays in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament. All five Creighton starters scored at least 11 points in a game that saw the Tigers all but erase a 17-point second-half deficit before surrendering a late 10-0 run that proved decisive for the Bluejays.
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The five Memphis starters — Jeremiah Martin, Kareem Brewton Jr., Kyvon Davenport, Raynere Thornton, and Mike Parks Jr. — played their final games in Tiger blue and gray. (All but Martin were brought to Memphis as transfers by former coach Tubby Smith.) Martin scored a game-high 20 points and became only the fifth Memphis player to score 700 points in a season. (Hardaway was the second in 1992-93.)

Martin's scoring and a pressing defense allowed the U of M to close within two points (54-52) with just over ten minutes to play in the game. Thornton and freshman Tyler Harris each drew offensive fouls to help fuel the surge. But the comeback stalled shortly after Davenport fouled out with more than eight minutes still on the clock. Harris finished with 11 points and fellow freshman Alex Lomax added 10.

Creighton improves to 20-14 and will face the winner of Sunday's TCU-Nebraska game in the NIT quarterfinals. The Tigers finish the season 22-14, the program's most wins since the 2013-14 campaign, the last time Memphis reached the NCAA tournament.

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