BATON ROUGE, LA (WMC) - Memphis Tigers Head Basketball Coach Penny Hardaway says he won’t shy away from playing top competition, whether it’s early in the season or late.
Penny got his wish in Game 1 down on the Bayou in Baton Rouge, Louisiana against #22 LSU.
LSU beat Memphis with a final score of 85-76.
Hardaway called Tuesday night’s loss a “what if” game.
While Memphis didn’t shoot amazingly well from the floor, the U of M looked really good in moments, and even came back from a 9-point halftime deficit to take the lead in the third quarter.
Ultimately Memphis was outmanned by LSU’s bigs, but it’s a performance Hardaway says his team can build off of.
“I don’t like moral victories, but I’m actually proud of the effort,” Hardaway said. “We were actually in the game to win it, and that’s all you want on the road. With a very new team.” One of the biggest positives from this game for Memphis is the play of freshman point guard Tyler Harris.
He went scoreless in the season opener a week ago but knocked down seven 3-pointers to lead the U of M with 20 points.
“Right after the last game I stayed in the gym,” Harris said. ‘I made a thousand shots, and just all week I’ve been locked in.”
"These are the type of games Tyler thrives in,” Hardaway said. “He looks forward to these type of games with the big-name guys, and on the road in a hostile environment.”
Memphis is now 1-1 on the season with a date against Yale at FedExForum this Saturday.
Hardaway says boxing out opponents and rebounding is the biggest emphasis for his young squad before the next matchup.