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Memphis Tigers fall to FAU 66-65 in NCAA Tournament opener

Controversial ending, last second layup sends Memphis home in the Round of 64.
Credit: AP
Florida Atlantic players celebrate their 66-65 win against the Memphis Tigers after a first-round college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament Friday, March 17, 2023, in Columbus, Ohio. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Memphis Tigers lost to  FAU in dramatic fashion, 66 to 65, failing to advance to the Round of 32.

The Tigers turned the ball over late in the final seconds going up the court. They appeared to get possession back under their own rim and tried to call a timeout, but a jump ball was called before the timeout.  FAU was given the ball after the jump ball and freshman Nick Boyd scored the game winning layup.

Things were not going Memphis’ way early on in the game. The Tigers settled for mid range and three point jumpers far too often. At one point they were 1-for-11 from deep and only four of their first 22 field goal attempts came at the rim.

The Florida Atlantic Owls got hot and went 6-for-7 putting the Tigers down 10 with 7:41 left to play in the first half.

The tide started to turn in Memphis’ direction late in the first half. They went on a 13-4 run that was capped by a three-pointer from senior guard Kendric Davis with 1:39 left to play in the first half. That three gave the Tigers their first lead since the 14:57 mark.

DeAndre Williams was severely limited for stretches because of foul trouble. Williams picked up his second foul with 2:08 left to play in the first half and was subsequently subbed out. The Tigers entered the break up 35-31 thanks to back-to-back threes from Davis. 

Williams picked up his third and fourth fouls only three minutes into the second half but was only subbed out for three minutes. He was brought back in with 14 minutes to play. 

Malcolm Dandrige slammed home a big dunk with nine minutes left to play off an assist from Williams to give the Tigers their biggest lead of the game, 51-44.

With 5:37 left in the game Davis, the engine for the Tigers all year long, took a three point shot and came down on FAU freshman guard Nick Boyd’s foot, turning his right ankle.  

Davis was subbed out and cameras caught Davis yelling at Dandridge during the timeout. Dandrige responded by shoving Davis in the back as the guard was walking away, and the coaching staff had to keep sides separated.

Davis sat out for about three minutes until FAU clawed their way back to tie the game, 60-60 with three minutes remaining. 

Williams was huge down the stretch knocking down a pair of free throws and getting a two-point tip in to keep the Tigers ahead 65-64 with under a minute.

The Tigers turned it over going up the court, but appeared to get possession back under their own rim thanks to a strip from Davis. Memphis tried to call timeout but jump ball was called before they were able to call it. FAU was given the ball after the jump ball and Boyd made the game winning layup.

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