Memphis freshman Shawne Williams had an up-and-down visit to New York last week.
Williams hopes to find his rediscover his shooting touch and help the 11th-ranked Tigers bounce back from their first loss of the season when they host Lamar on Monday.
Memphis (3-1) traveled to Madison Square Garden last week for the NIT Season Tip-Off and split a pair of games.
Williams made his first five 3-pointers and 10-of-13 shots in an 88-80 victory over No. 16 UCLA on Wednesday in the semifinals, but the wiry, 6-foot-9 forward did not find the going as easy against top-ranked Duke two nights later in a 70-67 loss.
He made just 1-of-6 3-pointers and finished with 15 points and eight rebounds as the Tigers fell to 0-7 all-time against No. 1 teams.
Fellow freshman Antonio Anderson was also 1-of-6 on 3-pointers. The point guard had just six points and six assists.
“We have guys who just haven’t played together,” Memphis coach John Calipari said. “We’re just trying to figure it out. Offensively, we’re taking so many bad shots right now it’s almost making me want to vomit at times, but we are being aggressive.”
Darius Washington, averaging a team-high 16.5 points, was also held in check against Duke with a season-low 11-points on 4-of-11 shooting. The Tigers are 5-10 in games in which Washington has shot below 50 percent during the sophomore’s career.
Even with the poor shooting, Memphis had a chance to win. But with the game tied at 67-67, Duke tipped in a missed shot with 32 seconds left to take the lead for good. Washington missed on the other end and the Tigers failed to rebound a miss at the foul line by the Blue Devils’ Lee Melchionni afterward.
“The two plays that cost us the game, they weren’t anything with skill or anything else,” Calipari said. “They missed a layup and they offensive rebounded, simply effort. They missed two free throws and they offensive rebound. That was the ballgame.”
Lamar (1-2) dropped two of three games to start its season at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. Alan Daniels matched a career high with 34 points as the Cardinals salvaged seventh place with a 92-82 win over Montana State on Nov. 20.
“We came out ready to play today,” Daniels said. “We didn’t want to go back home 0-3.”
Daniels’ effort came one day after he managed a career-low two points in a 79-60 loss to Kennesaw State.
Calipari and Lamar coach Billy Tubbs have a bit of history. The Memphis coach won two of three matchups while at Massachusetts against Tubbs’ Oklahoma teams from 1991-93.
Memphis and Lamar are meeting for the third time, and the first since Lamar evened the series with a 68-62 victory on Dec. 2, 1968.