MEMPHIS-The Christian Brothers University Bucs upset Memphis 74-70 in overtime at FedExForum Wednesday night in the lone exhibition game for both schools.
"It's a special thing," CBU head coach Mike Nienaber said. "Tonight, we're going to enjoy it because it is special. But it's not going to help us make the NCAA regional or anything. But everybody in Memphis knows what a big thing this is for us."
CBU led 43-39 after a Jordan Miller (Fulton, Ky./Fulton City HS) layup with 12:31 remaining in regulation, but Memphis answered with a 13-0 run capped by a pair fo Shaq Goodwin free throws, giving the Tigers what would be their largest lead of the game at 52-43 with 8:12 remaining. The Bucs answered the run, with a Sidy Sall (Dakar, Senegal/Seeds Academy) bucket then a steal and fastbreak layup by Jeff Larkin (Cincinnati, Ohio/La Salle HS) to close within five points. After an Avery Woodson triple restored the Memphis lead to eight points, the Bucs answered with a Trey Casey (Cincinnati, Ohio/La Salle HS) jumper and a Sall layup sandwiching a Memphis free throw to trim the deficit to 56-51 with 5:50 remaining.
Drew Hildreth (Memphis, Tenn./Bolton HS) followed with a three-pointer with 5:10 remaining to cut the deficit to 56-54, but Memphis extended its lead back to four points twice, finally with a Kedren Johnson jumper that gave them a 60-56 edge with 2:23 remaining. Sall scored on an inbounds play to halve the deficit to 60-58 with 1:26 remaining, and Ryan Fleming (Cincinnati, Ohio/La Salle HS) drew a foul on a rebound and sank a pair of free throws to tie the game and force overtime with 39 seconds remaining.
"It seems like a lot of times when we've been here and been ahead like that, they make that run that's a knockout punch and we never get off the mat," said Nienaber. "But tonight we did, and that was encouraging."
In the overtime, the Bucs struck first with a Fleming layup and a pair of Hildreth free throws to give the Bucs a 64-61 lead with 3:46 remaining. The Tigers tied the game at 67 on an Austin Nichols basket with 1:09 remaining, but Hildreth buried a three-pointer with 52 seconds remaining that gave CBU the lead for good at 70-67. Sall and Casey sank a pair of free throws each to stretch the lead to 74-67 before Nick King set the final margin with a three-pointer in the final seconds.
Sall posted game-highs of 20 points and 11 rebounds to go with five assists, two blocks and two steals. Casey scored 19 with a game-high five steals, while Hildreth scored 14 with three steals. Fleming scored 11 with a game-high nine assists against two turnovers.
"It's a lot of fun being a D-II team that takes down a D-I team," Fleming said. "Especially since we're both here in Memphis. We did have 16 turnovers as a team, but that comes with playing a D-I team like Memphis."
"It means a lot, this shows how hard we've been working this preseason," said Sall. "I can't be happier than this right now. We're getting back to work tomorrow. This is just the beginning, we're not done yet."
Goodwin led Memphis with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Nichols scored 17, and King added 11 with seven rebounds.
CBU shot 44.6 percent (29-of-65) for the game, including 60 percent (3-of-5) in overtime. The Bucs struggled from three-point range, shooting 28 percent (7-of-25), but they shot 69.2 percent (9-of-13) at the free throw line, including 70 percent (7-of-10) in overtime. Memphis shot 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from the floor but just 22.7 percent (5-of-22) from beyond the arc. Memphis shot 64.3 percent (9-of-14) at the free throw line. The Tigers out-rebounded the Bucs 39-28, including a 13-10 edge in offensive rebounds. The Bucs forced 21 turnovers while committing 16.
"Everybody in Memphis is going to be freaking out, but this happens two or three times every year," said Nienaber. "It's happened to Syracuse, it's happened to Ohio State, it's happened to Dayton. It occasionally happens, and those programs did not come unraveled because they lost those games, and this one's not either. They're a young team playing their first game. As it stayed close, that was a big advantage for us. We have guys that have been out here."
The Bucs open the season Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. as they visit Harding.
"We've got a really tough game Saturday night," Nienaber said. "It's a tough place to play. Obviously we showed tonight that we can be pretty good, but we have a lot of improving to do. There's a lot of things we can still get better at."