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Memphis roars into matchup with Gonzaga

The Tigers won their first NCAA Tournament game in eight years, but can they shock the world against the Zags?

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Syndication: The Commercial Appeal
DeAndre Williams and Jalen Duren combined for 24 points in Memphis’ 64-53 victory over Boise State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. 
Joe Rondone/The Commmercial Appeal / USA TODAY NETWORK

PORTLAND, ORE. – It’s eight years in the making. Memphis is back in the NCAA Tournament and is making noise doing it. The ninth-seeded Tigers defeated No. 8 Boise State 64-53 to earn the program’s first win in the Big Dance since 2014.

Memphis dominated in the first half and led by 19 at the break but went ice cold after coming out of the locker room. It managed just four points over the first 10 and half minutes of the second half. But the Tigers showed resiliency down the stretch to keep the Broncos at bay.

DeAndre Williams scored a team-high 14 points. Jalen Duren recorded a double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.

Memphis’ season was defined by battling back from adversity. The Tigers were just 9-8 after an eight-point loss to SMU on Jan. 20, which was their third straight setback. They won 10 of their final 11 in the regular season.

In the AAC Tournament, Penny Hardaway got his club to the finals, where they fell to Houston, who was the conference’s best team all year long and went to last year’s Final Four. In the conference semifinals, the Tigers avenged both regular-season losses to SMU by defeating the Mustangs by seven.

Memphis has a tough task in front of it as it attempts to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2009. The Tigers take on the overall No. 1 seed Gonzaga.

The Bulldogs, who went undefeated last year until the national championship game, are in their 23rd-straight NCAA Tournament. They led the country in scoring this year at 88.0 points per game. They knocked down 52.7% of their shots – also the highest mark in the nation.

A win over the Zags would be the program’s first win over the No. 1 team in the nation. The Tigers are 0-9 in such games.

Memphis traveled more than 1,800 miles to Portland for the weekend. Gonzaga is less than 400 miles from the Moda Center.

Second Round Matchup Details

Matchup: No. 9 Memphis vs. No. 1 Gonzaga

Date and Time: Saturday, March 19 at 9:40 p.m. ET

Location: Moda Center, Portland, Ore.

TV: TBS

DraftKings Line: Gonzaga -10, O/U 154.5

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