Davis, Memphis knock off unbeaten No. 11 Auburn, 82-73

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports
1 Comment

ATLANTA – Kendric Davis scored a season-high 27 points, DeAndre Williams added 16 points and 11 rebounds and Memphis beat No. 11 Auburn 82-73 on Saturday night to end the Tigers’ season-opening winning streak at eight.

Davis’ jumper beat the shot-clock buzzer to make it 60-50 with 11:18 remaining, and Memphis (8-2) was never threatened again. The closest Auburn got was an eight-point deficit on K.D. Johnson’s free throws with 3:04 left.

“We were playing a top team on one of the biggest stages there was today,” Davis said. “You always want to leave your impact. It’s urgent when you play these types of teams because it’s a resume win and you don’t have too many of them. It’s good we got it done.”

Wendell Green Jr. and Johnson each scpred 14 points and Chris Moore had 12 for Auburn (8-1), which began the day as one of 10 unbeaten teams in the nation.

Green’s offensive foul wiped out his basket and a missed layup by Moore in the closing minutes, and coach Bruce Pearl was called for a technical with 1:30 remaining to end Auburn’s last hope. Davis made two free throws to make it 75-65 heading into the final minute.

“That crowd was loud as hell,” Davis said. “It was like we were at their arena. I’m glad we stayed together. They made a run and the crowd got super loud and we answered every time they answered. That was the best thing. We’ve been in some tough games this year, man.”

Auburn was trying to get off to a 9-0 start for the second time in nine seasons under Pearl, whose 2019-20 team started 15-0.

“We have a defense where we shouldn’t let them split the ball screen,” Johnson said. “That was happening a lot so that fuels a lot of things on the back end. If we would’ve cleaned that up and stopped them then, we probably could’ve had a couple more points to get to in the end.”

Davis, the reigning player of the year in the American Athletic Conference, came up limping on the baseline late in the first but stayed in the game and played a team-high 38 minutes. He has played with a sore ankle most of the season but went 9 for 19 from the field and had six assists and nine rebounds.

One game after setting season highs with 93 points and 10 3s in a lopsided win over Colgate, Auburn shot just 38.1% and went 6 for 24 beyond the arc.

Memphis began the game averaging just 13 turnovers per game and committed 19.

“We know this was a big win for us,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “Auburn is a tough, tough, tough team. Physically, they’re No. 1 at protecting the rim with blocks, and we knew what it was going to be like to come in here. We wanted to be the tougher team mentally and physically because you know how hard coach Pearl’s teams are going to play.”


Auburn: The Tigers came into the game eighth in the nation in offensive rebounds but had just one at halftime and finished with 11. Auburn was outrebounded 42-33, a deficiency that went a long way to explain why Auburn had so many one-shot possessions and struggled to get back on defense against Memphis’ transition.

Memphis: The Tigers overcame foul trouble in the first half with starters Williams and Alex Lomax and reserve Malcolm Dandridge each getting whistled three times. Starter Chandler Wilson was called for two fouls, but Memphis settled into a zone defense to limit the fouls and force Auburn into low-percentage shots. Dandridge fouled out early in the second half.


Memphis: At No. 8 Alabama on Tuesday night.

Auburn” Hosts Georgia State on Wednesday night.

Larry Brown takes leave of absence from Memphis team

Jamie Schwaberow/NCAA Photos via Getty Images
1 Comment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Larry Brown, the legendary basketball coach who has won NCAA and NBA titles, is taking a leave of absence from his role as the special adviser to Memphis coach Penny Hardaway because of a “minor medical issue.”

The school announced the move on Sunday, saying the 82-year-old Brown hopes to return soon.

“We wish him all the best and respect his privacy at this time,” the school’s statement said. It didn’t provide further details.

Brown joined Hardaway’s staff in July 2021 a few years after Brown’s final head coaching job with Auxilum Torino in Italy’s Lega Basket Serie A. Hardaway played for Brown as a member of the New York Knicks.

Brown won 1,098 NBA games and reached the playoffs 18 times over 26 seasons. His NCAA title with the Kansas Jayhawks was among three Final Four appearances his teams made in the 1980s, including one with UCLA. He also won an NBA title with the Detroit Pistons in 2004.

Brown, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in 2002.

Memphis finalizes extension with Penny Hardaway

Christine Tannous/The Commercial Appeal/USA TODAY NETWORK

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis has finalized an extension keeping Penny Hardaway under contract through April 2028.

The announcement updates a memo of understanding agreed to in December 2020. The announcement comes two weeks after the NCAA put Memphis on three years of probation with a public reprimand and a fine but declined to punish Hardaway or give the Tigers an NCAA Tournament ban.

Athletic director Laird Veatch said in a statement the deal had been in the works for some time and that Memphis officials are excited to keep Hardaway with the Tigers for years to come.

“We could not have a better fit as our head men’s basketball coach at Memphis than Penny Hardaway, and we are very thankful for his dedication and leadership,” Veatch said.

Hardaway is 84-43 in his four seasons at his alma mater since being hired in March 2018. He has four straight 20-win seasons, won the 2021 National Invitation Tournament title and ended the Tigers’ NCAA Tournament drought at eight years with a berth last March. The Tigers went 22-11.

He ranks second among 14 first-time Division I head coaches hired before the 2018-19 season. Hardaway also ranks fourth among Memphis head coaches over their first four seasons. He has had three players picked in the first round of the NBA draft and four chosen overall.

Hardaway thanked Veatch and Memphis President Bill Hardgrave and the board of trustees for their support.

“As I have said many times, this is a dream position for me, and I do not take it for granted,” Hardaway said.

The former NBA All-Star will be paid $2.5 million this season with his compensation increasing $100,000 per year until he reaches $3 million for the 2027-28 season. His base salary is $200,000 with the rest coming from radio and television, public relations, public service and public speaking appearances.

Emoni Bates says he’s transferring to hometown E. Michigan

Getty Images

YPSILANTI, Mich. — Emoni Bates, one of the top recruits in the 2021 men’s basketball recruiting class, says he is transferring from Memphis to Eastern Michigan.

Bates, in an Instagram post, announced his decision to return to his hometown of Ypsilanti to play for the Eagles of the Mid-American Conference. An EMU spokesman said he could not confirm Bates’ transfer.

Bates averaged 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game his freshman season at Memphis and started 13 of 18 games. He missed 15 games because of a back injury before appearing in the Tigers’ two NCAA Tournament games.

The 6-foot-9 forward announced in April that he would leave Memphis and later said he would decide among Michigan, Arkansas, Seton Hall, DePaul, Louisville and Eastern Michigan.

Bates originally was on track to be in the 2022 recruiting class, but last summer he reclassified to the class of 2021 and signed with Penny Hardaway at Memphis after de-committing from Michigan State.

Eastern Michigan was 10-21 overall and 5-15 in the MAC last season and has not appeared in the NCAA Tournament since 1998.

Emoni Bates leaving Memphis for transfer portal after 1 year

Emoni Bates
Jamie Schwaberow/Getty Images
1 Comment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Emoni Bates, the five-star recruit who reclassified to 2021, has announced he’s entering the transfer portal after one season at Memphis.

Bates announced his decision on his Instagram account, saying he thanked Memphis coach Penny Hardaway and the rest of his coaching staff for giving him a chance to be a Tiger.

The 6-foot-9 forward has been called a generational talent and projected as the No. 1 overall pick when he becomes eligible for the NBA draft after he turns 19 in 2023. He reclassified to the class of 2021 last August and joined former AAU teammate Jalen Duren at Memphis.

The Tigers earned their first NCAA Tournament berth in eight years with Duren and Bates.

But Bates, from Ypsilanti, Michigan, started only 13 of 18 games and averaged 9.7 points, fifth most for Memphis. Bates played a game against East Carolina on Jan. 27, then didn’t play again for the Tigers until NCAA Tournament. He played three minutes against Boise State, then 12 in a loss to Gonzaga.

Reports: Memphis, Hardaway facing serious NCAA violations

Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal / USA TODAY NETWORK
1 Comment

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The University of Memphis and men’s basketball coach Penny Hardaway have been accused of serious violations of NCAA rules, including failing to cooperate with an investigation, two newspapers reported.

The Daily Memphian and The Commercial Appeal reported that they obtained copies of a notice of allegations from an investigation by the NCAA’s Independent Accountability Resolution Process.

The newspapers also obtained a response from the university denying the allegations. The university said the notice “contains no specific facts, and it is the specific facts that are imperative for the resolution of this matter.”

The allegations come after Memphis lost to Gonzaga in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last week.

Alleged infractions include four Level I and two Level II violations, according to an amended notice of allegations the university received in July 2021. Level I and Level II violations are considered the most serious NCAA infractions.

The school received seven total accusations, including alleged violations of NCAA clauses related to lack of institutional control, head coach responsibility and failure to monitor. Hardaway was involved in at least one Level I infraction and two Level II violations stemming from the NCAA’s investigation that ran from May 2019 to February 2021, the notice said.

Many details and allegations included in the documents have been redacted.

The alleged violations appear to coincide with the time former Tigers player and prized recruit James Wiseman spent at Memphis. Wiseman had received $11,500 from Hardaway in 2017, when Hardaway was the coach at East High School in Memphis.

Although Hardaway wasn’t Memphis’ coach at the time of the payment, the NCAA ruled it wasn’t allowed because he was a booster for the program. The former NBA All-Star gave $1 million in 2008 to his alma mater for the university’s sports hall of fame.

Hardaway became the Memphis coach in March 2018, and Wiseman committed to the Tigers in November 2018.

Wiseman played the first game of the 2019-20 season before the NCAA ruled Wiseman ineligible. He played two more games after filing a restraining order against the NCAA.

On Nov. 20, the NCAA suspended Wiseman for 12 games and ordered him to repay $11,500 in the form of a donation to the charity of choice. Wiseman now plays for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

Also, data from a computer hard drive belonging to a former assistant coach was not preserved, the notice said. The university’s response indicated the computer belonged to Mike Miller, a former NBA player.

The IARP’s Complex Case Unit alleges Memphis failed to cooperate with the investigation, including failing to report acts of noncompliance in a timely manner. Hardaway “failed to demonstrate that he promoted an atmosphere of compliance within the men’s basketball program,” the notice said.

“The Institution failed to timely produce requested and relevant documents,” the amended notice of allegations said. “Specifically, on August 26, 2020, the CCU submitted document requests to the Institution seeking various categories of documents including but not limited to communications and text messages.”

In its response, the university said “the facts do not demonstrate a lack of institutional control, a failure to monitor, a failure to cooperate or a lack of (redacted) responsibility.”

“UM has presented facts that show institutional control, ongoing and appropriate monitoring, cooperation, a culture of compliance, and head coach responsibility,” the school’s response letter stated.

The university declined comment in a statement obtained by the newspapers Saturday, saying the school “is not permitted to comment due to the ongoing IARP process.”

The Complex Case Unit also identified aggravating factors, including a history of Level I and Level II violations that could be considered when handing out penalties. The unit cited violations in 2009, 2005, 1989 and 1986.

Also, Memphis’ established history of self-reporting Level III violations will be considered. The school has reported 32 violations in the past three years.