A college basketball team's season really doesn't begin until it takes the show on the road. The Tigers traveled to Destin, Florida, to face Providence in the semifinals of the Emerald Coast Classic Friday night, and played like a team starting its season. Memphis shot a miserable 34 percent from the field and missed 18 of 23 three-point attempts in falling to to the Friars for its first loss of the season. The Tigers are now 4-1, having taken their first four games against underwhelming competition at FedExForum.
Sophomore forward Dedric Lawson
fell a rebound shy of his fifth straight double double (19 points and 9 rebounds), missing much of the second half in foul trouble. Also limited by foul trouble, his brother, K.J. Lawson
, scored but four points and pulled down six rebounds. Chad Rykhoek
scored ten points for the U of M.
Memphis led by as many as 12 points in the first half, but the Friars enjoyed an 8-0 run prior to halftime, making the score 30-29 in favor of the Tigers at the break. Providence took its first lead with just less than ten minutes left to play. Dedric Lawson closed the Tigers' deficit to three points with a trey at the 3:22 mark, but Providence finished the game on an 11-5 run to improve its record to 4-1. Rodney Bullock led the Friars with 18 points and Emmitt Holt added 16.
The Tigers will face Iowa in Saturday's consolation game, the Hawkeyes 74-41 losers to Virginia in Friday night's opening semifinal.