Memphis fans clamoring for attention from the Big East have received a pair of promotional demonstrations over the last six days. First a loss at Louisville last Saturday, then tonight in the nation's capital a defeat at the hands of the Georgetown Hoyas. Now 6-5, the Tigers face a steep climb for an NCAA tournament bid, let alone a seed higher than the 12th they received last March after winning the Conference USA tournament.
The 16th-ranked Hoyas led only 29-28 late in the first half before going on a 13-0 run that bridged halftime. Memphis played sloppily from the outset, turning the ball over nine times in the game's first 12 minutes. Playing their second straight game with essentially a seven-man rotation, the Tigers were dominated by the Hoyas inside and got precious little from starting center Tarik Black. (The sophomore fouled out with just under 10 minutes to play in the game having scored seven points with no rebounds.)
The Tigers picked up the pace of their offense after falling behind 54-34 eight minutes into the second half. With Adonis Thomas, Chris Crawford, and Will Barton trading forays to the basket, the Tigers went on a 15-5 run, then closed to within seven points with 4:23 to play. But the Hoyas finished the game on a 9-5 run of their own. Hollis Thompson led Georgetown with 18 points and nine rebounds, while Jason Clark added 17 points and Henry Sims scored 12 and added 10 rebounds.
Memphis was led by Crawford with a season-high 17 points. Will Barton scored 12 and grabbed 11 rebounds. It was Barton's lowest scoring output in six games. No other Tiger reached double figures on the scoreboard.
The Tigers have now lost 11 straight games against ranked opponents, dating back to the 2008-09 season. In 12 meetings with the Hoyas, Memphis has won exactly two. Information to consider as the campaign for Big East membership continues.
Josh Pastner's squad will lick its wounds over the next week before hosting Robert Morris on December 29th. Charlotte follows with a visit to FedExForum on New Year's Eve.