Mar 26, 2021
DENTON, Texas – The Memphis Tigers advanced to the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament after a hard-fought 59-56 win over Boise State Thursday night in Denton, Texas.
Memphis (18-8) will now face another NIT one-seed, Colorado State (20-6), Saturday morning at 11 on ESPN. The winner will play for the NIT title Sunday at 11 a.m., and the loser will play in the third-place game Sunday afternoon at 2. Both games Sunday are also on ESPN, and Memphis’ two remaining games will be played at Comerica Center in Frisco.
Despite a shortened schedule due to COVID-19, with a tournament championship the Tigers would record their fourth-straight 20-win season, including all three seasons under head coach Penny Hardaway.
With just over five minutes left in the game, the Tigers jumped out to their largest lead of the night, 54-45. But from there, Boise State (19-9) rattled off 10-straight points and took a 55-54 lead with 47 seconds left in the contest.
The Tigers then came down and missed a jumper, but D.J. Jeffries deflected a potential Boise State rebound to Lester Quinones, who laid in the second-chance try to put Memphis back on top, 56-55.
The Broncos missed a bucket on their next possession, forcing a late-game foul, and DeAndre Williams calmly made two free throws to make it 58-55 with 13 seconds left. Using late-game strategy, the Tigers fouled Boise State before it could attempt a game-tying 3-pointer, and the Broncos split a pair of free throws and Landers Nolley II grabbed the rebound.
Nolley II went 1-for-2 from the line, making the score 59-56, and a desperation heave by the Broncos did not come close and sealed the Memphis victory.
Jeffries and Ellis finished with 11 points apiece for the Tigers, and Jeffries also had four rebounds, three assists, two blocked shots and a steal. Quinones added 10 points and seven rebounds, and Damion Baugh had six points and six rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench.
Eight different Tigers scored in the game, and seven had multiple rebounds. All nine Tigers who played in the game had at least one board.
To help overcome a bit of an off-shooting night, Memphis forced 15 Boise State turnovers that led to 12 points. The Tigers held the Broncos to 37.7 percent shooting (20-53).
Twenty-one of Memphis 59 points in the game, 36 percent, came from the bench.
- Memphis used the starting lineup of Boogie Ellis, Lester Quinones, Landers Nolley II, DeAndre Williams and Moussa Cisse for the 11th-straight game.
- When it was used for the first time before Memphis’ game against UCF on Feb. 1, it became the Tigers’ eighth different starting lineup in the first 16 games of the season.
- The Tigers improved to 23-17 in their 19 NIT appearances.
- This is the first time Memphis has logged multiple wins in its last three NIT trips, since winning three games and advancing to the semifinals of the 2005 tournament.
- This was the first all-time matchup between Memphis and Boise State.
- D.J. Jeffries has now scored in double figures in four-straight games after four games in single digits.
- His two blocked shots tied a season high (3x, last vs. USF, Dec. 29).
- Lester Quinones was Memphis’ leading rebounder with seven.
- He has led the Tigers on the glass in back-to-back games and three of the last four.
- Damion Baugh had a season-high six rebounds.
COURTESY MEMPHIS ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS