Thursday, November 26, 2020

Western Kentucky 75, Tigers 69

Posted By on Thu, Nov 26, 2020 at 1:21 PM

Playing their second game in 24 hours, the Tigers came up short in the semifinals of the Crossover Classic Thursday afternoon in Sioux Falls. Charles Bassey (21 points, 14 rebounds, 6 blocks) and Carson Williams (14 points, 9 rebounds) proved too much for Memphis to handle in a game that featured 10 lead changes. The Tigers reduced a seven-point deficit to two points over the game's final three minutes, but the Hilltoppers' Kenny Cooper hit a pair of clinching free throws with 4.1 seconds on the clock after a Landers Nolley three-pointer made the score 71-69.
click to enlarge Landers Nolley - DAVE EGGEN/INERTIA
  • Dave Eggen/Inertia
  • Landers Nolley

Nolley led Memphis with 25 points and hit six of ten three-point attempts. Sophomore guard Boogie Ellis added 14 points off the bench, ten fewer than he scored in Wednesday's quarterfinal win over Saint Mary's. D.J. Jeffries led the Tigers with 10 rebounds but scored only six points.

The Hilltoppers shot 44 percent from the field and hit 19 of 24 free throws. The Tigers shot 42 percent and made six of 11 from the foul line. Thanks largely to Bassey, Western Kentucky dominated on the glass with 44 rebounds to the Tigers' 31.

“That was a very tough one,” said Memphis head coach Penny Hardaway. “Right now, we’re just a new team. We played an older team that knows how to win. In those games, we have to impose our will on them first, which we did, but we have to keep it on them the entire game, and we didn’t do that. I’ll learn from this, and we will get better.”

Now 1-1, Memphis will play the loser of the second semifinal (VCU and 15th-ranked West Virginia) in a consolation game Friday.

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