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Tigers squeak by Vanderbilt ‘test’

David Jones scored 28 points, including 21 in the second half, as No. 23 Memphis held on to escape with a 77-75 victory over Vanderbilt on Saturday.

Jahvon Quinerly added 13 points for Memphis (10-2).

Ezra Manjon led Vanderbilt with 22 points, while Tasos Kamateros, Jason Rivera-Torres and Tyrin Lawrence scored 12 points each as Vanderbilt (4-8) dropped its fourth straight.

“I think this was a blessing how we won the game,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “It was a test. Obviously, the big games pose their own test. This did as well because you have to to muster up the energy, play the right way and dominate the game.”

The Tigers’ Jahvon Quinerly is on the move as Eza Manjon of Vanderbilt applies defensive pressure. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The Tri-State Defender)

The Memphis lead was a scant 75-73 when Lawrence converted a pair of Vanderbilt free throws with 13.3 seconds remaining. From there it became a free-throw shooting contest as Jones and Jaqualon Roberts both split a pair of free throws. Then Quinerly made one of two free throws and Memphis held a 77-74 advantage with 9 seconds left. Kamateros made one free throw, cutting the Memphis lead to 77-75.

Vanderbilt had a chance on the final play inbounding the ball with 3.5 seconds left. Manjon had a look at a 3-pointer, but the attempt bounced off the front of the rim, and Memphis survived for its fifth straight win.

“We were just a shot away,” Vanderbilt coach Jerry Stackhouse said. “We did everything we needed to do to give ourselves a chance, and we got it right there at the end.”

Tyrin Lawrence of Vanderbilt grabs a rebound over Malcolm Dandridge of Memphis. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The Tri-State Defender)
Former NBA stalwart and Jerry Stackhouse, also a former assistant coach for the Memphis Grizzlies, directs instructions to his Vanderbilt team. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The Tri-State Defender)

While Memphis had moved into the Top 25 with wins over Clemson and Virginia, the Vanderbilt game appeared to be less of a challenge.

“One thing I love about this team is we always find a way,” Hardaway said. “In this game, it was ugly for us.”

Memphis, which trailed at the half, ratcheted up its defensive pressure for a quick run and a lead to start the second half. When Vanderbilt caught up, the teams began exchanging advantages. Rivera-Torres kept Vanderbilt close with a trio of 3-pointers.

Memphis’ newest Tiger, Nae’qwan Tomlin, drives past Ven-Allen Lubin of Vanderbilt. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The Tri-State Defender)

“We just saw what was happening,” newcomer Nae’Qwon Tomlin said of the halftime adjustments. “(Manjon) was getting in the paint, and he was scoring at will. We just tried to limit his touches.”

BIG PICTURE

Vanderbilt: Despite dealing with injuries, the Commodores gave Memphis a headache throughout the game with its defensive pressure. The Commodores have lost games to lesser opponents this season, but the effort against Memphis was admirable.

Memphis: The Tigers seemed out of sync most of the game, until Jones took over in the second half.

David Jones scores over Carter Lang of Vanderbilt. (Photo: Warren Roseborough/The Tri-State Defender)

NAE’QWAN PLAYS

Kansas State transfer Tomlin, declared eligible earlier this week, made his first appearance for the Tigers. The 6-foot-10 forward, who had an impact on the Wildcats’ postseason run last season, was dismissed from Kansas State after a bar fight in Manhattan, Kansas. He entered the game in the first half and immediately sank a 3-pointer. He finished with eight points in 15 minutes.

UP NEXT

Vanderbilt: Hosts Dartmouth on Dec. 30.

Memphis: Hosts Austin Peay on Dec. 30.

(This Associated Press story is by Clay Bailey.)

TSD GALLERY

 

 

 

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