Sunday, January 17, 2021

Tulsa 58, Tigers 57

Posted By on Sun, Jan 17, 2021 at 4:34 PM

Which hurts worse: a loss by 40 points or a loss by a single point?

Almost precisely a year after suffering an embarrassing 40-point humiliation at the Reynolds Center in Tulsa, the Tigers suffered a one-point loss to the Golden Hurricane, their second loss in their last three games to the same foe (three other contests having been postponed due to Covid testing among their opponents). Elijah Joiner and Brandon Rachal combined to hit four key free throws in the game's final three minutes to help Tulsa improve to 8-4 (5-2 in the American Athletic Conference). The Tigers fall to 6-5 with the loss (2-2 in the AAC).
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Sophomore guard Lester Quinones hit a pair of late three-pointers that each drew Memphis within two points. But Quinones also committed a turnovers — the Tigers' 21st of the game — with under a minute to play and Memphis down 58-55. DeAndre Williams scored after pulling down a missed three pointer by Landers Nolley, but it was too little (two points to make the score 58-57) and too late (only three seconds remained on the clock).

The Tigers led by nine points (24-15) in the first half, and by six at the break (32-26). But a pair of runs by Tulsa — one of 10-2, the other 9-0 — tilted the game in the home team's favor. Joiner led the Golden Hurricane with 16 points and Rachal added 12.

Too many Tigers were ineffective after the three-week break to make a positive impact. D.J. Jeffries fouled out with only five points. Alex Lomax started at point guard but contributed only two points and a single assist in 20 minutes. Reserve guard Boogie Ellis missed all six of his field-goal attempts.

Nolley came off the bench and led Memphis with 13 points. Quinones scored 12, and sophomore center Malcolm Dandridge had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Tigers return home for their next game as Wichita State is scheduled to visit FedExForum on Thursday night. It will be the first of four games in eight days for a program eager to catch up on its season, and just as eager to find wins — multiple — to make the new year feel right.

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