Thursday, April 01, 2010
Memphis, LSU to play basketball in Tupelo on Nov. 21
The Commercial Appeal
By Ron Higgins
Posted April 1, 2010
University of Memphis basketball coach Josh Pastner might look young, but one of his strengths is his appreciation of hoops history.
So when he was asked Wednesday about the Tigers playing LSU on Nov. 21 at BancorpSouth Arena in Tupelo, Miss., Pastner already knew about the most controversial meeting between the teams.
That was LSU's 83-81 victory over Memphis on LSU's home floor in the second round of the 1986 NCAA Tournament. It was the last year the NCAA allowed home-court games, and a 28-win Memphis team lost at the buzzer when LSU's Anthony Wilson flipped in a short jumper after grabbing a loose ball.
It was the final game of Memphis coach Dana Kirk's career, and the college finale for beloved seniors Andre Turner and Baskerville Holmes. Kirk, one year removed from guiding the Tigers to the Final Four, was fired just before the start of the next season. He was so upset by the officiating and LSU's homecourt advantage that he slapped away LSU coach Dale Brown's hand in an attempted postgame handshake.
"I've been told about that game," Pastner said. "I think our game this time will be a good challenge for our young team at the start of the season, and it will give us a chance to see what we need to work on. I have a lot of respect for (LSU coach) Trent Johnson, and I expect we'll have great support. Tupelo is just a drive down the road for our fans."
Eddie Nunez, LSU's associate athletic director for operations and project development, said both schools signed contracts with Global Sports, which is promoting the game as part of an unnamed tournament or classic.
Both Memphis and LSU, which won the 2009 SEC regular season title in Johnson's first year before going 11-20 (2-14 in the SEC) this past season, will play three home games against other opponents before facing each other in Tupelo.
Nunez said that LSU will have home games against Northwestern (La.) State, Tennessee-Martin and Centenary.
Pastner said he doesn't know yet who Memphis will play in its three games prior to facing LSU.
-- Ron Higgins: 529-2525