Treveon Graham poured in a game- high 26 points on Thursday, as Virginia Commonwealth upended No. 19 Memphis, 78-65, at the Battle 4 Atlantis from Imperial Arena.
"I wanted to come in aggressive, confident and loose just like coach told us before the game. I wanted to stay focused on playing my game and taking shots when I was open," Graham said.
Rob Brandenberg went 5-for-5 from 3-point range en route to 15 points and Troy Daniels donated 12 points for the Rams (3-1), who have won two straight and advance to take on No. 5 Duke on Friday.
Adonis Thomas led Memphis (2-1) with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Tarik Black netted 12 points in the setback, the Tigers' first of the season.
Memphis will face Minnesota in the consolation bracket on Friday.
VCU led 6-4 early on before ripping off a 10 of the next 13 points to grab a 16-7 lead just under eight minutes into the contest.
The margin reached 16 later in the half on a Brandenberg 3-pointer and the Rams carried a 42-28 edge into the second half.
Memphis opened the final 20 minutes with seven straight points, but a triple from Daniels quickly pressed the lead back to double-digits.
The Tigers used a 10-0 sprint a bit later in the half to trim the deficit to 50-47 with 12:04 remaining.
Graham quelled the surge with a four-point play at the other end before back- to-back jumpers from Thomas cut the difference back to three.
Black's jump shot with just over four minutes remaining found the Tigers within two, but Graham finished a layup at the other end to spark a 12-0 run, which he capped with a triple to make it 75-61 with 1:23 left.
VCU led by double-digits the rest of the way.
"I thought it was a great game. It reminded me of an NCAA Tournament game," VCU coach Shaka Smart said. "Memphis obviously has a terrific team and I thought they showed a lot of toughness in the second half, battling back on us."
Memphis shot 51.9 percent from the field ... VCU went 47.3 percent from field, including 56.5 percent from 3-point range ... VCU finished with 14 assists, compared to just 10 for Memphis.