Tigers Fall to VCU, 78-65, in Opening Round of Battle 4 Atlantis
Nov. 22, 2012
PARADISE ISLAND, The Bahamas - The University of Memphis men's basketball team (2-1) suffered its first defeat of the season as the Tigers fell to VCU (3-1), 78-65, in the opening round of the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The VCU defense caused problems for the Tigers in the early going by forcing 13 turnovers in the first half to go up by as many as 16 points. After Memphis cut the Rams lead to 63-61 in the final minutes of the game, VCU hit three consecutive three-pointers to distance itself once and for all from the rallying Tigers.
In the first half, the VCU defense forced eight turnovers in the first seven minutes of play to jump out to a 16-7 lead. Memphis cut into the VCU lead with a monster dunk by D.J. Stephens from Chris Crawford off an inbounds play to make it 16-11 midway through the first half. However, VCU would respond with a 16-6 run, making six consecutive shots, to extend their lead to 32-17 with 7:27 remaining in the half.
The Tigers would get within 12 at the five-minute mark with a layup from Shaq Goodwin before VCU's Rob Brandenburg hit his third trey of the first half to put the Rams lead back at 15, 38-23.
Memphis went into the half trailing 42-28 with Crawford and Black leading the Tigers in the opening period with six points apiece.
The Tigers began the second half with a 7-0 run in the first two minutes with buckets from Adonis Thomas and Black and a wide-open three-pointer from Stephens to make it 42-35 VCU. The Rams refused to let the Tigers get any closer as Troy Daniels knocked down his second three-pointer of the night to give VCU a 45-35 advantage with 17:22 remaining in the game.
After another three by Daniels stretched the Ram lead to 50-37, the Tigers used an 8-0 run to get back in the game, forcing four Ram turnovers to make the score 50-47 with 12:16 left. VCU ended the Memphis run with a four-point play by Treveon Graham to extend the Ram lead back to 54-47.
Thomas responded with back-to-back buckets for the Tigers, including a nifty spin to the basket, to cut the VCU lead to 54-51 midway through the second half. A trey by Daniels helped the Rams escape a Memphis threat by bringing the VCU lead back to six.
VCU would bring its lead to nine before three-straight buckets by the Tigers put them back in the game at 62-59 with less than five minutes to go. A jumper in the paint by Black brought the Tigers within two before a basket by Graham and a three-pointer by Brandenburg gave the Rams some breathing room at 68-61 with just over three minutes remaining.
VCU continued to hit from behind the arc as Brandenburg and Graham added three's to push the VCU lead to 75-61 to help them earn a 78-65 victory over the Tigers. For Memphis, Thomas tied a career-high with 19 points on 9-of-15 shooting, adding seven rebounds to his efforts. Black added 12 points and five rebounds while Crawford chipped in 10 points and five boards.
Graham led the Rams with 26 points on 8-of-12 shooting while Brandenburg was 5-of-5 from behind the arc to total 15 points.
Memphis will face Minnesota tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT in the next game of the Battle 4 Atlantis on AXS.TV.