Playing their third game in three days at the Crossover Classic in Sioux Falls, the Tigers fell to VCU Friday night in the third-place game. (West Virginia beat Western Kentucky earlier Friday for the tournament championship.) Vince Williams led the Rams with 15 points off the bench, supporting starters KeShawn Curry (14 points) and Nah'Shon Hyland (12 points) in a win that improves VCU to 2-1 to start the season while Memphis drops to 1-2.
The Rams shot 44 percent from the field while holding the Tigers to 35 percent. D.J. Jeffries
led Memphis with 17 points and Lester Quinones
had 11, despite missing eight of his 11 shots from the field. Boogie Ellis
scored 10 points off the Tiger bench. A day after putting up 25 points against Western Kentucky, Landers Nolley scored only five in 29 minutes of playing time.
The Tigers had six more turnovers (19) than assists (13) in their worst showing of the trip to the South Dakota.
“We are not there yet, but we're going to get there,” said Memphis coach Penny Hardaway, staring at a losing record for only the second time in three seasons at the helm. “We have been working so hard. Everyone is buying in. We have no selfish players on the offensive end, and we should be one of the better defensive teams in the country. We get in this tournament and things go south, but now you have to learn from it.”
Memphis will host its first game of the new season Wednesday night when Arkansas State visits FedExForum. Their current schedule includes only three other games (December 4th, 8th, and 12th, all at home) before American Athletic Conference play begins (December 16th, at Tulane).