Down two starters (one of them the top freshman in the country), the Tigers crossed the state of Tennessee and earned their first win over a Top-20 team under coach Penny Hardaway by knocking off the 19th-ranked Tennessee Vols. Damion Baugh
hit a three-pointer from the right wing with 1:40 left in the game for the sixth and final lead change of the contest's final five minutes. Volunteer guard Yves Pons had a chance to tie the game with a pair of free throws with 21 seconds left on the clock, but he missed the front end of a one-and-one. Sophomore guard Alex Lomax
buried a pair of free throws with eight seconds left to clinch the Tigers' seventh straight win, all with James Wiseman serving his NCAA-mandated suspension.
The win is the Tigers' first at Thompson-Boling arena since the 2012-13 season (the last time the teams played in Knoxville). Memphis improves to 9-1 on the season, the program's best start since the 2010-11 campaign. With its first loss in 32 games at home, Tennessee falls to 7-2.
Both teams shot miserably to open the game, Tennessee missing 15 of its first 18 shots while the Tigers hit only one of their first 12. But a 20-7 run by Memphis — capped by a driving Tyler Harris
layup as time expired — gave the Tigers a one-point lead (25-24) at halftime. Harris and Jeffries each hit a three-pointer midway through the second half to give Memphis a marginal lead, but UT jumped back in front on a field goal by Pons with just under six minutes remaining. But a steal and layup by Baugh put the Tigers back in front, setting up the punch-trading final stretch.
Jeffries and Harris led Memphis in the scoring column with 11 points and Baugh added 10. Precious Achiuwa
pulled down 13 rebounds and just missed a double-double with eight points. Josiah-Jordan James led the Volunteers with 14 points.
The Tigers return to FedExForum for their next game, December 21st against Jackson State. They have five games remaining (including the American Athletic Conference opener) before Wiseman is eligible to return on January 12th (at USF).