Wed, 27 Jan 2021

Memphis hopes to ruin Central Arkansas' season debut

Field Level Media
04 Dec 2020, 10:05 GMT+10

After Memphis lost two of its first three games, coach Penny Hardaway made a change to the starting lineup Wednesday against Arkansas State.

The Tigers jumped out to a 22-point halftime lead and cruised 83-54 in their home opener.

Hardaway will be looking for similar results Friday when the Tigers (2-2) host Central Arkansas, which will be playing its first game of the season.

Boogie Ellis and Damion Baugh were inserted into the starting lineup in place of fellow guards Landers Nolley II and Alex Lomas. Nolley, a transfer from Virginia Tech where he was an All-Freshman Team selection last year, responded with 23 points on 8-of-17 shooting with three 3-pointers off the bench.

Nolley leads the team in scoring (16.0) and 3-pointers (11) followed by Ellis, who is averaging 12.3 points with nine shots from beyond the arc.

"Landers is a guy that scored 15.5 points per game in the ACC," Hardaway said. "That's not easy to do when you're playing Florida State, Duke, North Carolina and all those really good teams. If you can average that, it shows you can really put the ball in the basket.

Freshman Moussa Cisse, a five-star prospect, had season highs of 14 points, 10 rebounds.

"If he can get those type of numbers in those minutes, that's major numbers for us," Hardaway said. "His progression is a beautiful thing to watch going forward."

Central Arkansas had its first four games canceled due to COVID-19 concerns, including three at the Ole Miss Classic and Tuesday's contest with Missouri State.

Anthony Boone took over the head coaching reigns last year after Russ Penell took an indefinite leave of absence for personal reasons and ultimately resigned with the team off to a 1-9 start. The Bears went 9-12 under Boone.

Central Arkansas will be leaning on Rylan Bergersen, who averaged 15.8 points per game and hit 43 3's at BYU last season; and DeAndre Jones, the school's all-time assists leader (452). Jones led the conference in assists (131) last season.

"It took (Bergersen) a while to adjust to his role where we were depending on him a lot after he got limited playing time at BYU," Boone says. "He's a tough-nosed guy who can handle the ball, attack the basket and score and shoot."

--Field Level Media

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