Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Huskers Fall to Memphis in Second Game of ESPN Events Invitational

November 25, 2022

Derrick Walker made his season debut, but it wasn’t enough to get Nebraska a win as the Huskers fell to Memphis 73-61 at the ESPN Events Invitational. 

The Huskers bounced back from their worst 3-point shooting game of the season in the first round of the tournament to post their best against the Tigers, shooting 37.5% with nine makes, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a season high 20 turnovers which Memphis converted into 19 points on the other end.

Emmanuel Bandoumel tied his season-high with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting (3-of-4 from 3) and 5-of-7 from the free-throw line, five assists and five rebounds while facing off against his former SMU backcourt make, Kendric Davis.

Walker posted a double-double in his return to the lineup with 15 points on 7-of-11 shooting, 12 rebounds and three assists, but he also turned the ball over nine times. Keisei Tominaga chipped in 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting (3-of-5 from 3) in 23 minutes off the bench. Nebraska shot 43.1% overall and 8-of-12 from the foul line (all in the second half) while losing the paint points battle by 10.

Davis led Memphis with 21 points and seven assists, though the Huskers made him work for his points as he shot 9-of-19 from the field and 1-of-5 from the foul line. DeAndre Williams added 16 points, Alex Lomax scored a season-high 13 points and Keynote Kennedy chipped in 10 points off the bench.

Sam Griesel got the Huskers on the board first with a floater nearly two minutes into the game, but Memphis responded with an 11-0 run spanning nearly six minutes as the Huskers missed seven straight shots with three turnovers.

Walker grabbed an offensive rebound then found Tominaga cutting for a layup to end the drought, but Memphis answered with a 3 to build its lead to 10. The Tominaga layup seemed to take the lid off the rim, however, as the Huskers scored eight in a row including 3s from Tominaga and Juwan Gary to pull within two, then after a Memphis dunk, Nebraska pulled within one on a 3 from C.J. Wilcher.

The teams continued trading mini-runs with Memphis maintaining the lead until Gary’s second 3 of the game tied it up at 30-all with less than a minute to play. Memphis responded with its own triple, however, and Walker’s 3 at the buzzer didn’t fall. The Tigers took a three-point lead into halftime.

After shooting 3-of-14 from 3 against Oklahoma, the Huskers went 6-for-14 from deep in the first half against the Tigers. Memphis countered with 5-of-12 from 3 and a two-point edge in the paint. The Huskers assisted on 11 of their 12 field goals. Tominaga led Nebraska with eight points on 3-of-4 shooting including a pair of triples while Davis scored a game-high 10 points.

After a strong first half, Walker turned the ball over five times in Nebraska’s first eight possessions as the Tigers extended their lead to 10 on a breakaway slam. Fred Hoiberg called timeout to settle the team down and Bandoumel buried a 3 after play resumed. However, Memphis responded with a 3 from Lomax, who had been 0-for-7 going into the game.

The Huskers cut it down to eight with a bucket from Walker and another 3-pointer from Tominaga, but the Tigers hit Nebraska with a 14-4 run to extend the lead to 15 at 61-46 as the turnover woes continued.

The closest Nebraska got was 12 points the rest of the way as Memphis held on to advance to the consolation bracket final.

Nebraska shot 45.5% including 3-of-10 from deep and turned the ball over 13 times in the second half. Memphis shot 50% including 4-of-10 from deep. Bandoumel scored 15 second-half points and Walker added nine, but the big man also turned it over eight times and Nebraska got a combined two buckets and seven points from the rest of the team.

Nebraska will faces Florida State in the final game of the tournament on Sunday at 6:30 p.m. CT.

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