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Memphis blocks Gonzaga’s last chance to earn a marquee victory in the regular season

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Memphis forward Nick King, right, tries to hang onto a rebound against Gonzaga center Sam Dower Jr. (35) and center …

Gonzaga came to Memphis on Saturday night looking to earn its first boast-worthy win of the season in its first game against a ranked opponent.

It seemed well on its way to securing that victory a little more than 6 minutes in to the second half when Memphis guard Joe Jackson elevated in the lane to block a dunk attempt by Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski, who, at 7-foot-1, is a foot taller than Jackson.

The inspired effort from Jackson completely turned the momentum in the Tigers favor and Memphis fought back to claim and 60-54 victory. (See the block in the Loop below).

At 21-4 now, Gonzaga is in no real danger of missing the NCAA tournament assuming it doesn't fall flat down the stretch of the regular season. It probably won't need to win the West Coast Conference tournament either to get an invitation, but by not nailing down its best chance at a statement victory, it's vulnerable to slipping to a lower seed than it might expect given its record.

At this point the Bulldogs best victory would probably be over West Virginia or Brigham Young. While those are respectable teams at this stage of the season, they aren't the kind of victories that will earn coach Mark Few and his players any additional love from a committee trying to find an appropriate seed for Gonzaga come tournament time. With six games left, all against WCC opponents, Gonzaga is out of opportunities to prove its record isn't a product of soft schedule.

Gonzaga was able to take advantage of its obvious advantage in the post at times during the game, especially in the first half. But when the game was on the line late, Memphis' guards outplayed Gonzaga's.

Jackson finished with 10 points and five assists, but his block of Karnowski was the highlight. He was one of four Tigers in double figures. Sam Dower scored 18 for Gonzaga.

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Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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