It was a wild night for the Memphis Tigers as they went to battle with the Virginia Tech Hokies in the first game of the NIT Tip-Off held under the bright lights and busy streets of Brooklyn, New York. Wednesday night started like any Memphis game this season the young; but talented Memphis team had ten first-half turnovers, but somehow, the Tigers found a way to take a three-point to the break. From there, it was an uphill battle for Penny Hardaway and his Memphis Tigers as they finally escaped Wednesday night with a win to set up a Championship matchup with Iowa State.
For the Tigers on Wednesday night, it took a star-studded performance from DeAndre Williams, who led the way for the Tigers with a double-double, with sixteen points and ten rebounds. Without the performance from DeAndre Williams, Memphis would likely be looking at playing Xavier in the third-place game.
We also saw on Wednesday night the sheer importance and willpower that Malcolm Dandridge brings to the defensive side of the court for the Tigers. Dandridge was a force to be reckoned with. As Virginia Tech tried to take it inside, they were denied access by a pair of Tiger big men in Jalen Duren and Malcolm Dandridge. Between the two, Memphis had 15 rebounds, 14 points, and two blocks.
As far as everybody else went, it was a slow night for guys like Landers Nolley, Tyler Harris, and Chandler Lawson; all three combined for seven total points. Lester Quinones finished the night with seven points and Emoni Bates with nine.
Overall, Wednesday night was a good Quad One win for the Tigers and will likely go a long way in what kind of seeding Memphis will receive in the NCAA Tournament come March. However, Memphis has another massive opportunity on Friday night against Iowa State to earn another great victory before hitting the road next week against two SEC programs in Ole Miss and Georgia.
Memphis and Iowa State will Tip-Off on Friday night at 8:30 central time and can be viewed on ESPN2.