Memphis will seek to finish the Bad Boy Mowers Crossover Classic on a high note on Friday night when it faces Virginia Commonwealth in the tournament's third-place game in Sioux Falls, S.D.
The Tigers (1-1) answered a 73-56 win over Saint Mary's on Wednesday with a 75-69 setback to Western Kentucky. Memphis' late rally fell just short against the Hilltoppers on Thursday and prevented coach Penny Hardaway's club from advancing to the championship game.
"That was a very tough one," Hardaway said. "Right now, we're just a new team. We played an older team that knows how to win. In those games, we have to impose our will on them first, which we did, but we have to keep it on them the entire game, and we didn't do that. I'll learn from this, and we will get better."
Sophomore Landers Nolley II scored 17 of his team-leading 25 points in the first half for the Tigers. The preseason All-American Athletic Conference second-team selection sank 6 of 10 attempts from 3-point range.
"We're happy to have him," Hardaway said of Nolley, a transfer from Virginia Tech. "He's one of the best shooters in the country, as he showed (Thursday)."
Virginia Commonwealth (1-1) was unable to ride the momentum of its 85-69 victory over Utah State on Wednesday into the following day's contest against No. 15 West Virginia. The Rams were outrebounded 49-34 by the Mountaineers in their 78-66 loss, much to the chagrin of coach Mike Rhoades.
"I liked how we competed, I liked how we got the style of play going. We just couldn't finish enough against their physicality. And the term I use 'brutal physicality,' Rhoades said.
"And it really knocks you off your game in different ways: around the rim, running your stuff and, of course, sometimes their best offense is when they throw up a shot and it's on the rim."
Nah'Shon Hyland followed up his career-high 23-point performance versus the Aggies with 13 points against West Virginia.
Vince Williams answered his personal-best 15-point effort against Utah State with 11 versus the Mountaineers.
Solid numbers to be certain, but consider that Hyland and Williams struggled mightily from the floor on Thursday. Hyland went 5-for-16 from the field and 0-for-5 from 3-point range, while Williams made just one of his seven shots.
Virginia Commonwealth, as a team, wasn't much better. The Rams missed their first nine shots to start the game and shot a woeful 3-for-21 from 3-point range.
--Field Level Media