The American Athletic Conference tried their hardest to go win some money, but they went home empty-handed. Memphis seniors Jeremiah Martin and Kyvon Davenport led the AAC to the quarterfinals of the 2019 Dos Equis 3X3U National Championship before they were eliminated by the Northeast Conference.
The tournament started Friday and Saturday with pool play games for all teams. The AAC was in Pool C with the Atlantic-10, NEC and Big West conferences. They had two games on Day 1, the first in which they beat the Atlantic 10 23-19. Martin ended with eight points and seven rebounds to lead the way. Davenport was the next highest scorer with seven points plus eight rebounds.
The second game was a close one with Martin nailing the game-winning free throw to seal the victory over the Big West 21-20. He finished the game with eight points and a team-high four assists. Five of his eight points came from the free throw line. Davenport also shot eight points and had a couple of highlight put-back dunks in the game that led the charge for the team.
On Saturday, the AAC had their final pool play game against the NEC before the knockout stage begins on Sunday. This game belonged to Davenport right from the start when he made the first play of the game with a one-handed slam. He ended the game with 10 points, the most by a team member in the whole pool play. He also shot 80 percent from the field, which was the team’s highest percentage as well in pool play. Martin finished the game with seven points and two blocks that were key down the stretch.
Finishing the pool at 3-0, the AAC was a lock for Sunday’s round of 16 knockout stage. Their first opponent was the Big South conference, and once more Davenport shined again, leading the team to a 22-18 victory. He finished the game with 11 points and six rebounds. He scored the team’s final five points to secure the win and take the AAC to the quarterfinals. Although Martin did not do much, he was the team’s leading passer in the game with five assists. The AAC was riding high on momentum, feeling confident in their chances in quarterfinals against a team they beat in pool play, NEC. That was not the case this time around.
The AAC road to the title came up short against the NEC in round 2 of their matchup with a 21-20 loss. The team they beat in pool play got their revenge as Martin missed a game-tying free throw to keep the game going. That was his first free throw miss out of the whole tournament. The clutch he claimed while at the University of Memphis faded away in a blink of an eye. He finished the game with nine points and added two blocks. Just like the game against Big West, most of his points came from the free throw line. Davenport added eight points and five rebounds in the losing effort.
The two Tigers did not get much help from their teammates Jordan Cornish and Isaac Fleming in the tournament. Martin and Davenport led this team to a 4-1 record at the tournament. They both displayed their skills in front of scouts in attendance. From Martin’s will to lead a team and get to the free throw line to Davenport’s rare athleticism and rebounding, they both played excellent basketball and represented the American Athletic Conference well.