MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Lots of questions in search of answers for the Memphis Tigers men’s basketball team as it tips-off season three under head coach Penny Hardaway. The only way to answer them is by playing games.
Game one against Wednesday against Saint Mary’s not going according to Hoyle at the start. The Gaels jumped out to an 8-0 after the Tigers look tentative off the jump.
But, that’s when the U of M turns up the defense and turns the lights out on the Gaels. Former East High Star Malcolm Dandridge a couple of blocks off the Bench to get it going in the paint.
Then Boogie Ellis comes off the oak to do his thing. The Sophomore from San Diego jump-starting a sluggish Tiger Offense with 20 points in the first half. He winds up with 24, including six for six from Downtown.
Slow start for Sophomore D.J. Jeffries, just two of ten for the former Olive Branch star, with nine rebounds.
How about the newcomers? Transfer Landers Nolley - not a good shooting day. But the 6′7″ guard from Virginia Tech helped Memphis outscore the Gaels 43-18 the rest of the half.
Five-star freshman big man Moussa Cisse looking young out of the gate, but shows promise defensively, and running the floor. He winds up with ten points, seven boards and two blocks. Still, defense rules the day for the Tigers. Memphis scoring 17 points off turnovers, including five-steals.
The biggest right before the break... Boogie with a swipe and the half-court heave as time runs out.
Bank’s open in the Dakota’s for three! The Tigers win this one easily. Final Score 73-56. After the game, these comments from U of M Head Coach Penny Hardaway.
“For this being our first game out of the gate, it was a pretty special game because we didn’t do everything perfectly,” said Penny. “But, we played really hard, played for each other, did some great things out there, and ended up beating a really good team. We didn’t do everything perfectly, but we played very hard, so I’m really proud of the guys.”
The Tigers advance to the Crossover Classic semi-final round where they will play Western Kentucky. The Hilltoppers beat Northern Iowa 93-87. The semi tips-off at 11 am on Thanksgiving Day on ESPN-2.