PORTLAND, Ore. (WMC) - This is It! The biggest game of the year for the 13th ranked Memphis Tigers Men’s Basketball Team. And, we’re only 3 games into the Season.
The Tigers traveled way out west to Portland Tuesday night to take on the 14th ranked Oregon Ducks in the Phil Knight Classic. This game was played in the Moda Center, home of the NBA Portland TrailBlazers.
Tigers prized freshman James Wiseman was ready to battle as he’s dueling with the NCAA to keep his eligibility alive. On the court, Wiseman was hamstrung in his ability to stay on the court in the first half.
The 7-footer called for two quick fouls in the first 4:45, he was benched for the rest of the half with no points, a block and 5 rebounds..
The Ducks took full advantage of his absence jumping out to a 10 point lead.
The Tigers chip away behind the hustle of guards Lester Quinones and Alex Lomax.
A Quinones corner 3 pointer and offensive put-back puts Memphis up with 4 minutes left before the break, but Oregon gets some timely 3 point shooting to take a 6 point lead into the break with a score of 41-35.=
In the second half, Wiseman got back in the lineup, and the former East High star got right to work.
He racked up 14 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks as the Tigers get back in front.
But, the experience of the Ducks paid off down the stretch as Payton Pritchard took advantage of the Memphis youth in switching defense, catching the Tigers with a couple of late 3′s to pull away.
Oregon beat Memphis with a final score of 82-74.
The U of M now 2-1 on the season. Next game is against Alcorn State, Saturday at FedExForum.