Memphis doesn’t do boring.
The Tigers dealt with off-court drama regarding prize freshman Jelan Kendrick (eventually booting him off the team), watched freshman star Will Barton be suspended, then reinstated by the NCAA and have yet to play a game befitting of their talent.
Overtime wins against Austin Peay and Arkansas State? Barely beating Texas A&M-Corpus Christi? Ouch. Sunday’s 91-86 comeback against Tennessee State was the latest underwhelming performance.
But it had an added bit of drama. From the Memphis Commercial-Appeal:
In a late show of emotion, Memphis was leading 85-81 with less than a minute left when Antonio Barton was fouled hard by Peters, who appeared to mouth off at Antonio as he stood over him near the baseline. Antonio’s brother, Will, quickly came to his defense, starting an altercation in the paint that led to Black’s leaving the bench and subsequently being ejected.
Pastner said Black, who went 9-of-11 from the field and added five rebounds, wouldn’t have to sit out Wednesday’s game against at Tennessee because he didn’t get involved in the fracas, which included an irate Pastner running onto the floor and pinning Will Barton against the cushion beneath the basket.
“It was more or less a natural reaction,” Black said. “You want to go out there and split it up so nobody gets suspended. But in the end, I almost got suspended so I learned my lesson.”
Black wasn’t the only one ejected, either. A Memphis booster sitting courtside also was tossed, for – according to a tweet by Penny Hardaway – shouting at Tennessee State’s Kenny Moore to choke on his mouthpiece for knocking down Antonio Barton. (Video of her ejection is here.)
And to think, Wednesday the Tigers travel to Tennessee for a game against one of the few college teams having just as many on-court issues (losses to Oakland and College of Charleston) and off-court (Bruce Pearl’s ongoing NCAA woes).
Now that’s must-see TV.
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