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Memphis Outlasts VCU in Close Overtime Win

The Memphis Tigers rallied late to defeat the VCU Rams 85-80 in an overtime thriller. 

After a heart-wrenching loss to Ole Miss in Oxford Saturday, the Tigers traveled to Richmond, Virginia to face the VCU Rams. 

The Tigers are in the midst of a brutal nonconference stretch, and they cannot afford to continue to miss opportunities. 

Memphis was dealt a blow before game time, as it was announced that starting center Jordan Brown would be unavailable due to sickness. 

With Brown out, Coach Hardaway decided to shake up the starting lineup, putting Ashton Hardaway, Nick Jourdain, and Malcolm Dandridge in the lineup. 

Veteran wings Jaykwon Walton and Caleb Mills came off the bench for the Tigers. 

This new lineup did not look comfortable in the early going, and the Tigers quickly found themselves in a 19-9 hole. 

The Memphis offense never really looked in sync in the first half, but the Tigers clawed their way back into the game thanks to a four-minute VCU scoring drought.  

The Tigers evened the game at 22, and the two teams traded buckets for the remainder of the first half. 

At halftime, VCU led 36-32 thanks to a 10-point half from big man Toibu Lawal. Lawal himself had 4 first-half offensive rebounds. 

The second half saw the trading of buckets continue. 

Memphis would consistently tie the game, but they were not able to take the lead. 

Turnovers by Memphis’s key players plagued the Tigers in this game, with many of them being unforced. Jahvon Quinerly and David Jones combined for 11 of the Tigers' 18 turnovers. 

With just under 10 minutes to play, VCU stretched its lead to 5 points, before a clutch Caleb Mills three-pointer to keep the Tigers in striking distance. 

With four minutes to go, Mills hit another big three to cut the VCU lead to one. After giving up a pair of free throws, Quinerly hit a three to knot up the score at 67. 

The Tigers took their first lead since 3-2 with 2:21 to play when Caleb Mills sank a pair of free throws.  

The game script felt like the reverse of the Ole Miss game, but VCU’s Mas Shulga sunk a three of his own to put VCU back on top with just over a minute to go. 

Jahvon Quinerly saw his shot blocked on the ensuing possession, but the video replay confirmed that it was a goaltend. 

VCU regained the lead with 29 seconds to go, and Malcolm Dandridge was fouled for the Tigers. Dandridge split the pair, and the game was tied at 72. 

The Memphis defense got a much-needed stop, and the game headed to overtime. 

Jaykwon Walton, who had played only four in the second half, hit a three on the first possession of OT to give the Tigers their largest lead. 

The Tigers controlled the overtime period, and, after a pair of David Jones free throws, secured a hard-fought 85-80 win. 

After facing back-to-back sellout crowds, the schedule does not lighten up for the Tigers, as they will travel to College Station to face the 21st-ranked Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday Afternoon. 

After that, the Tigers will return to FedExForum to host two of the top teams in the ACC, Clemson and Virginia. 

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