The University of Memphis men’s basketball team wrapped up its Canadian exhibition tour on Tuesday (Aug. 19th) after a second loss to the Carleton University Ravens 92-60. The Tigers finished four games in four days splitting the tour 2-2.
After a rigorous 10-round team practice schedule as permitted by NCAA rules, Memphis departed for Canada on Aug. 15 and returned to the bluff city on Wednesday (Aug. 20).
The Tigers started and ended the tour losing to the Ravens in Games One and Four (Game One, 89-76 and Game Four, 92-60).
“We came here for the competition,” said Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner in a press release issued by the University of Memphis. “We could have gone elsewhere and won games. But, I wanted the competition. We needed to get exposed, so we could see our weaknesses and how to improve in those areas.”
The Tigers’ strengths included rebounding and their weaknesses centered on three-point shooting, turnovers and free throws. These stats were most evident in Game Four, where Memphis shot 40 percent from the field and 57.6 percent from the free-throw line.
“I thought we played well defensively the first half, but we just could not score,” Pastner said of Game Four. “And, it went downhill the second half. When you're 1-of-12 from the three-point line, have 21 turnovers and 19-of-33 from the free throw line, you're not going to win too many games.”
Tiger’s guard Pookie Powell led Memphis with 13 points followed by Chris Hawkins with 10. Shaq Goodwin pitched in nine points. The Tigers grabbed 41 rebounds compared to 25 of The Ravens.
Pastner said fatigue should not have been a factor, but realizes that his team was a little “worn down” in Game Four. Only eight players from the Tigers roster hit the floor for the exhibition tour.
“We need to get tougher,” Pastner said. “We weren't a tough team other than the second game of this tour. In the second game versus Ottawa, we were a tough team. The other three games, we weren't tough. But, we will address that in our preseason workouts.”
Memphis faced the University of Ottawa Gee Gee’s on Aug. 17, in Game Two. They dominated for a 104-89 exhibition-game victory. Nick King led the Tigers with 25 points while five Tiger players scored in double figures. The loss for Ottawa was their first in NCAA preseason history. They were leading the Tigers 53-47 at halftime, but the Tigers came back with a 21-5 run to take a 68-58 lead. By the end of the third quarter, Memphis led by 15 points, which capped off the entryway into the final-period victory.
For Game Three, Memphis battled the McGill University Redmen in Montreal, Quebec at Love Hall and extended a second-night victory 93-71. The Tigers again had five players in double figures with Goodwin and King leading the way. Memphis shot 57.6 percent from the field and scored 20-of-31 from the free throw line. Memphis outrebounded the Redmen 41-24, but turned over the ball 23 times.
Pastner and his Tigers will explore ways to combat the exhibition woes as they practice and prepare for the upcoming season.