MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Seemingly beaten on several occasions, the University of Memphis simply refused to lose.
Saturday night at FedExForum, the Tigers overcame multiple deficits and obstacles to outlast Yale, 109-102, in double-overtime.
“We just outlasted them,” said Tigers coach Penny Hardaway, who shed his jacket after the first OT.
Tyler Harris and Kareem Brewton rescued the UofM in regulation, allowing the Tigers (2-1) to recover from a six-point deficit with 1:39 left. Harris’ three free throws with 2.9 seconds left forced overtime.
Kyvon Davenport’s clutch shooting in the final two minutes of the first overtime – a three-point play with 41 seconds left and a game-tying free throw with 3.6 seconds to go – led to a second OT.
And in the second OT, senior guard Jeremiah Martin stepped up, driving aggressively to the rim and drawing fouls. He scored six of his 20 points in the final overtime, including going 4-of-5 from the free throw line.
“We were against the ropes at the end of regulation, but we stuck together as a team and kept thinking positive,” Martin said. “And I just remember going into that last overtime and Coach Hardaway told me to just take over.”
Martin was one of seven Tigers scoring in double figures. Harris led with 22 points, his second-consecutive 20-point game after going scoreless in the opener against Tennessee Tech. Alex Lomax added 13 points, Brewton finished with 12, Mike Parks had 11 and Kyvon Davenport and Isaiah Maurice scored 10 each. Davenport led the Tigers with eight rebounds.
When Yale’s Azar Swain connected from deep with 1:39 to go, the Bulldogs led, 81-75. The Tigers rallied in the closing minute-and-a-half to force overtime, sending it into the extra period when Harris made three free throws with 2.9 seconds left after being fouled on a corner-three attempt.
In the first overtime, Yale’s Alex Copeland scored all 13 of the Bulldogs’ points, but Memphis forced a second OT when Davenport hit a free throw with 3.6 seconds to go.
Then Martin took charge in the second OT, showing no ill effects of playing a game-high 42 minutes.
“I feel it was a great win for this team and this culture,” Martin said.
In the first half, Memphis fell behind by seven early during a flurry of Yale 3-pointers. The Bulldogs (1-1) built a 23-16 during a stretch in which they hit five consecutive treys, including three by Swain.
The Tigers battled back behind gritty play and determination, directed, in part, by Parks. He had 11 points in the first half and his strong follow with 1:31 left gave the UofM a 45-40 lead, its biggest of the half.
Lomax had 10 points in the first half, one in which the Tigers shot 47 percent and outrebounded Yale, 20-18. The Tigers did not make a 3-pointer in four attempts.
Yale shot 60.9 percent in the second half and 48.6 percent for the game. Copeland led the Bulldogs with 22 points and Swain finished with 17. Yale also made 22 of 29 free throws 12 of 29 treys.
Memphis overcame 21 turnovers, 6-of-23 shooting from 3-point range and missing 19 free throws.
The Tigers play next at the AdvoCare Invitational in Orlando starting on Thanksgiving Day against Oklahoma State. Memphis will play three games in the event.
The 56 free throw attempts by the Tigers tied for the third-most in school history.
The double-overtime game was the first by the Tigers since they beat Mercer, 83-81, Dec. 2, 2017 at FedExForum.
The 109 points were the most by a Memphis basketball team since scoring 111 in a 42-point win over Jackson State on Nov. 16, 2006.
Yale committed 40 fouls and had four players foul out. Memphis committed 20 fouls and had no players disqualified. Isaiah Maurice had four fouls.
Memphis improved its record to 43-9 against first-time visitors at FedExForum since 2009-10.