MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Precious Achiuwa scored 25 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as 16th-ranked Memphis held off Mississippi 87-86 on Saturday for its third consecutive victory without heralded freshman center James Wiseman.
D.J. Jeffries dunked with a second left for Memphis, then Blake Hinson beat the buzzer with a 3 for the final margin as the Tigers avoided blowing a 16-point lead.
Memphis (5-1) snapped a three-game streak by Ole Miss (4-1) in this series.
Penny Hardaway has the youngest team in the country, according to KenPom.com. He still has the No. 1 recruiting class even with Wiseman sitting out an NCAA-mandated 12-game suspension for what college sports’ governing body ruled were impermissible benefits from 2017 when the Memphis coach was overseeing a local high school team.
Jeffries finished with 23 points for Memphis, Tyler Harris had 15 and Alex Lomax 14.
Ole Miss (4-1) had won its first four games by double digits all at home, and coach Kermit Davis has three starters back from his NCAA Tournament team last season.
Breein Tyree led Ole Miss with 24 points. KJ Buffen had a team-high 13 before fouling out with 10:10 left, and Hinson had 15.
Achiuwa also was a five-star recruit like Wiseman. He scored five of the final seven baskets before the break to close the first half with a 45-38 lead. Then the 6-foot-9 forward scored the first seven of the second half as the Tigers pushed their lead to 54-43 on a dunk by Jeffries with 15:57 to go.
The Tigers led 64-48 on a putback by Achiuwa with 11:19 left.
Ole Miss responded with a 17-6 run to turn a runaway into a thrilling finish, with Tyree hitting a pair of free throws with 4:22 left to pull Ole Miss within 70-65.
Jeffries dunked with 3:30 to go when he was called for taunting, and Tyree made both free throws as Ole Miss pulled to within 75-69.
Ole Miss: The Tigers held each of their first four opponents below 60 points and led the SEC by allowing just 31.9% shooting, which was fourth nationally. They had little answer for Memphis’ inside scoring. They led early, hitting five of their first six 3-pointers. They finished 12 of 27 from 3.
Memphis: The young Tigers are very good with layups and high-flying dunks, outscoring Ole Miss 52-20 in the paint. But they’re going to have to show at some point they can take, and make, 3’s to keep opponents from packing the paint defensively. They hit only 3 of 11 outside the arc, with Harris hitting all three.
Ole Miss: Penn State on Wednesday in Brooklyn at the NIT Tip-Off.
Memphis: North Carolina State on Thursday in Brooklyn at the Barclay Center Classic.