Portland, OR – No. 9 Memphis Tigers forward DeAndre Williams drops the first bucket of the game to set the tone in the first half. They jumped out to a 19-point lead at the half, then managed to hold on for a 64-53 victory over the No. 8 Boise State Broncos.
Williams led his team playing a team high 32 minutes with 14 points and five rebounds. Center Jalen Duren had a double double with a team high 11 rebounds and 10 points.
“Coach kept telling us it’s a game of runs,” said Duren, “Knowing we gotta lock in and be ready for the next game.”
The Tigers shot 47% from the field, and 41.7% from behind the arc, while the Broncos slow start cost them shooting only 31.5% from the field. Boise did out score the Tigers in the second half by eights points but the defect was too big to recover.
Most will wonder was it halftime adjustments for the Broncos or Memphis guard Alex Lomax tweaking his ankle as cause for the shift of momentum.
Tigers coach Penny Hardaway trusted his players to play through some adversity, and only looked to call time-out sparingly to slow down the Broncos flow.
“Fantastic win for us tonight,” said Memphis coach Hardaway, “We dug in deep to get our first win.”
When the Tigers defense was set, it really gave the Broncos fits who plays its best basketball in the halfcourt sets.
Broncos did come alive in the second half but used to much energy catching up while the Tigers just kept steady to hold on to advance to second round. Now the Tigers will sit back and wait Gonzaga if they can win to set up No. 1 vs No. 9 second round in the west.