Dayton will play Memphis in the opening round of the NIT on Saturday in Denton, Texas.
But the game will be a home reminder for Flyers senior guard and top scorer Jalen Crutcher, who was born in Memphis .
Crutcher, who leads fourth-placed Dayton (14-9) with 18.1 points and 4.8 assists per game, was also trained in elementary school by Tiger’s trainer Penny Hardaway and has a birthday with the former NBA Star.
Crutcher played at Ridgeway High School in Memphis and grew up a fan of the Tigers.
« To be honest, I didn’t really see the selection show, » Crutcher said. “I forgot what I did. Probably playing a game or something with my teammates. I could see my phone explode. It was like playing Memphis right? I was really like that. I just got a lot of calls that night. I’m excited. «
Number 1 Memphis (16-8) has suffered seven of its eight single-digit losses this season and was almost against Houston in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference.
The Flyers appear for the 26th time in the NIT and last won the tournament championship in 2010.
Dayton was eliminated in the 10th quarterfinals of the Atlantic with a 73:68 defeat against the NCAA Tournament qualification VCU. Crutcher had 21 points and Center Jordy Tshimanga had 10 points and 10 rebounds.
Boogie Ellis scored 27 points and Memphis led Houston by four points, five minutes before the Cougars beat the 76-74 victory, with the Tigers one of the last four teams excluded from the NCAA tournament.
This is the 19th NIT appearance for Memphis, who won the championship in 2002.
Guard Landers Nolley II is the. with 12.6 points per game Tigers’ leading scorer while striker DeAndre Williams averaged 11.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.1 steals per game. Hardaway has not indicated whether junior guard Alex Lomax (ankle) will be available against Dayton.
« It’s bittersweet because everyone wants to win the NCAA tournament, but the NIT is also very appreciative of the NIT for us to Made number 1 and also put us against a really good Dayton team, « said Hardaway. « It will be a good test for us. »
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