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Poor shooting dooms Virginia Tech in loss to No. 9 Memphis
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Poor shooting dooms Virginia Tech in loss to No. 9 Memphis

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NEW YORK — Virginia Tech certainly was not thankful for the offensive performance it displayed on Thanksgiving eve.

The Hokies shot a woeful 33.9% from the field in an ugly 69-61 loss to ninth-ranked Memphis in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off tournament Wednesday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“I take nothing away from those (Memphis) guys, but we missed some that (were) just out of character,” Tech coach Mike Young said after the game. “We had some things at the basket (and missed). … We weren’t ourselves.

“We usually have a much better rhythm. We usually get some things — and we had cracks at it — around the rim. ... Again, Memphis had a lot to do with that. They were a little bit better than we were.”

The Hokies (5-1) entered Wednesday with a field goal percentage of 50.5%.

But against the long, deep Tigers (5-0), the Hokies made just 19 of their 56 field goal attempts. It was Tech’s worst shooting performance since the Hokies shot 32.8% from the field in a 78-60 loss at Syracuse in January.

“We can win any kind of game, an ugly game, a good game, … because of our defense,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said.

Young said the Tigers’ defense was “relentless.”

“Takes its toll on you,” he said.

Tech guard Nahiem Alleyne had 21 points but was 4 of 14 from the field. Center Keve Aluma had 14 points but was 5 of 17 from the field.

Point guard Storm Murphy was 2 of 8 from the field, while guard Hunter Cattoor was 3 of 8.

“On Hunter and Nahiem, we just wanted to make sure that we switched everything and tried to make them shoot over length,” Hardaway said.

The Hokies committed their second-highest number of turnovers (13) this season. Memphis recorded eight steals.

Murphy had more turnovers (six) than points (5).

“Because they had one primary ball-handler in Storm, we wanted to really just pressure him and take his legs from him,” Hardaway said. “Everybody that was guarding him, pressure him 94 feet and turn him two or three times every time.”

Tech was outscored 32-20 in the paint and also struggled from long range. The Hokies shot a season-low 33.3% from 3-point-range (7 of 21), including 16.7% in the second half.

“They came out as the aggressors tonight and we [weren’t] fighting that much,” Alleyne said. “We’ve got to box out.

“We’re always going to be the smaller team. We’ve just got to be tougher than everybody else.”

Memphis won despite shooting just 39.3% from the field.

“My team guarded very well,” Young said.

The Tigers won even though their two freshman stars, NBA prospects Jalen Duren and Emoni Bates, did not have big games. Duren, a 6-foot-11 center, had 6 points. Bates, a 6-9 forward, had 9 points and was 2 of 10 from the field.

But forward DeAndre Williams had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Tigers, and backup center Malcolm Dandridge had 8 points and eight rebounds.

Memphis outrebounded Tech 45-33. The Tigers snared 15 offensive rebounds.

The Hokies will get another crack at upsetting a ranked foe Friday.

Iowa State knocked off No. 25 Xavier 82-70 in the other first-round game Wednesday, so the Hokies will play Xavier (4-1) in the third-place game at 7 p.m. Friday.

FG FT Reb

MEMPHIS M M-A M-A O-T A PF PT

Bates 23 2-10 5-6 0-4 0 3 9

Williams 25 6-10 3-3 4-10 0 4 16

Duren 22 3-7 0-2 3-7 0 3 6

Nolley 20 2-6 0-0 2-3 3 2 5

Quinones 28 1-5 4-4 0-1 1 2 7

Lomax 20 2-7 2-2 2-3 3 1 7

Timberlake 18 2-3 2-2 1-3 2 3 6

Dandridge 17 4-6 0-1 3-8 1 1 8

Harris 12 0-3 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Hardaway 8 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 3

C.Lawson 4 1-1 0-0 0-3 0 1 2

Minott 3 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

Totals 200 24-61 16-20 15-44 10 21 69

Percentages: FG .393, FT .800. 3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Williams 1-1, Hardaway 1-2, Nolley 1-2, Lomax 1-4, Quinones 1-4, Harris 0-2, Bates 0-4). Team Rebounds: 1. Team Turnovers: 1. Blocked Shots: 4 (Duren 2, C.Lawson, Quinones). Turnovers: 13 (Williams 3, Bates 2, Dandridge 2, Quinones 2, Duren, Lomax, Nolley, Timberlake). Steals: 8 (Dandridge 2, Lomax 2, Bates, Duren, Nolley, Williams). Technical Fouls: Williams, 6:24 second.

FG FT Reb

VA. TECH M M-A M-A O-T A PF PT

Aluma 36 5-17 3-4 5-11 1 5 14

Mutts 38 3-6 1-2 4-12 3 2 7

Alleyne 36 4-14 10-11 0-4 4 4 21

Cattoor 28 3-8 1-3 0-3 0 4 9

Murphy 39 2-8 1-2 0-1 2 3 5

Maddox 14 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 5

N’Guessan 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Ojiako 4 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Pedulla 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 200 19-56 16-22 9-31 10 20 61

Percentages: FG .339, FT .727. 3-Point Goals: 7-21, .333 (Alleyne 3-7, Cattoor 2-5, Maddox 1-1, Aluma 1-3, Mutts 0-2, Murphy 0-3). Team Rebounds: 2. Team Turnovers: None. Blocked Shots: None. Turnovers: 13 (Murphy 6, Mutts 3, Alleyne 2, Aluma, Cattoor). Steals: 8 (Mutts 4, Aluma 2, Alleyne, Cattoor).

Memphis 33 36 — 69

Virginia Tech 30 31 — 61

A—2,804 (17,732).

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