Memphis-N. Iowa Preview

Memphis entered the Battle 4 Atlantis as one of four ranked
teams in possibly the most impressive in-season tournament field
this year.

Following a pair of losses, the Tigers are just trying to get
one win before they leave the Bahamas.

No. 19 Memphis will face Northern Iowa for the first time in the
tournament’s seventh-place game on Saturday.

After being overwhelmed by VCU’s 3-point shooting in a 78-65
opening-round loss on Thursday, Memphis (2-2) had no answer for
Minnesota’s Andre Hollins in Friday’s consolation semifinal. The
Tigers lost 84-75, and surrendered a career-high 41 points to
Hollins – the most points scored by one player against Memphis
since 2005.

The Tigers allowed the Golden Gophers to shoot 51.0 percent,
with Hollins, a Memphis native, going 12 of 16 from the field and 5
of 5 from 3-point range. Memphis remains without an impressive win
this season, only defeating North Florida and Samford.

“All the criticism and blame always fall on me as it should,”
said coach Josh Pastner, whose team started 6-5 last year before
finishing 26-9. “But there is no need to push the panic button.
This is just part of the journey. We still have a chance to be
scary good with all the talent we have.”

The Tigers hit 57.7 percent of their shots in the first half but
went cold in the second, shooting 35.1 percent. Hollins outscored
Memphis 9-3 in the game’s final 1:14. Memphis also faltered at the
free throw line late, going 5 for 12 in the second half after
hitting 9 of their 10 foul shots in the first period.

“We had chances down the stretch but we turned the ball over and
missed a load of free throws,” Pastner said. “Boy, did that bite us
in the butt.”

The Tigers did get a career-high 15 points from D.J. Stephens,
who set a personal best with three 3-pointers and also recorded
seven rebounds. Memphis had better luck from the perimeter as a
team, going 5 of 11 after hitting 12 of 41 (29.3 percent) in its
first three games.

But Pastner will need better play from starting point guard Joe
Jackson, who scored two points in seven minutes Friday.

“Joe’s going to be better than that,” Pastner said. “We know he
will be better. I believe in Joe and he will snap out of it.”

Northern Iowa (3-2) gave No. 2 Louisville all it could handle in
a five-point loss Thursday but was blown out by Stanford 66-50
Friday.

The Panthers struggled with their shots, going 17 of 46 and
hitting 6 of their 22 3-point attempts. Leading scorer Deon
Mitchell – who entered the tournament averaging a team-best 17.7
points – was again held in check, scoring nine. He was 2 of 10 for
six points Thursday.

Northern Iowa also committed 16 turnovers against Stanford,
which the Cardinal converted into 26 points.

“Now we have to play another good team,” Panthers coach Ben
Jacobson said. “We have a chance to take advantage of another
opportunity.”