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Jayhawks hold off Tigers in national championship rematch

No. 1 Kansas outlasted Memphis on Tuesday in the Hall of Fame Classic game, and got off to a 2-0 start with a 57-55 win. The game came down to the final seconds, as the Tigers had a chance to win the game as time expired with a 3-point shot, but Kansas (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) dodged a bullet.

The Jayhawks’ offense was led by Cole Aldrich, who had 18 points and 11 rebounds, along with five blocks, and was given MVP of the game.

The first half saw fairly even play; however, the Jayhawks had the lead for the vast majority of the time. After leading 5-4, the Tigers (1-1, 0-0 Conference USA) were playing from behind for the rest of the half, but were able to keep it close and go into the break only down six with a score of 26-20 in favor of the Jayhawks.

The second half opened with the Tigers cutting the Kansas lead to three, 26-23, before the Jayhawks went on a 12-5 run to extend their lead to 10 points with 14 minutes left. Memphis called a timeout, and proceeded to steadily chip away at Kansas’ lead until it was down 48-45 with three minutes to play.

With a couple of three pointers in the last minute, the Tigers were able to cut the deficit to one point at 56-55 with just 16 seconds left. Memphis fouled on the ensuing inbounds play, and after one miss and one make, the Jayhawks led by two points. Memphis got a good look at a three-point shot to win the game, but it bounced off the back of the rim, and Kansas was able to hang on and stay undefeated, as Memphis fell to 1-1.

Texas rookies shine

Texas showed everyone why they are considered by many to have the best freshman class and bench depth in the nation on Wednesday with a blowout win over the Catamounts, 73-41.

The first half was a solid indication of how the game would turn out, as the Longhorns (2-0, 0-0 Big 12) went on a 20-6 scoring run to propel themselves to a 43-24 halftime lead.

Western Carolina (1-1, 0-0 Southern Conference) fought hard, but were unable to find their offensive rhythm, as Texas held them to just 26 percent shooting from the floor and 17 points in the second half.

Damion James lead the Longhorn offense with 18 points, and three other players were in double digits in the victory for the Longhorns, as they remain undefeated on the season, while the Catamounts fell 1-1.

Andrew Morrison can be reached at ajmorris@student.umass.edu.

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