hit all six of his three-point attempts — including a buzzer-beating bank shot from just inside the half-court line to end the first half — to lead the Tigers to a season-opening win over Saint Mary's in the quarterfinals of the Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls. The sophomore guard came off the bench and scored a career-high 24 points to help Memphis advance to the semifinals of the tournament, where they'll play the winner of today's Northern Iowa-Western Kentucky game on Thanksgiving.
The Tigers fell behind 8-0, but took the lead on a putback layup by freshman center Moussa Cisse
midway through the first half. They would not trail again. Ellis's circus shot gave the U of M a 42-26 lead at the break and the margin grew beyond 20 points (49-28) three minutes into the second half.
Cisse scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds in his Tiger debut. Transfer Landers Nolley
also started in his first game for Memphis, scoring 11 points. Sophomore guard Damion Baugh
added 10 points off the bench.
After leading the country in field-goal-percentage defense last season, the Tigers put the clamps on the Gaels, forcing 17 misses among 18 three-point attempts. Overall, Saint Mary's shot 34 percent from the field while Memphis converted 43 percent of its shots.
Matthias Tass led the Gaels with 15 points.
“We are trying to be the number-one team in the country in opponent field goal percentage,” said Tiger coach Penny Hardaway, having started his third straight season with a victory. “That is something that we want to be at the very top in every year. For the most part, I am proud of the defense in holding that team to 56 points. With the way they like to play, that says a lot. We want to be the best defensive team in the country for sure.”