LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Memphis coach Josh Pastner has a message for the Siena administration about its basketball coach.
"Jimmy Patsos, I think Siena should give him a lifetime contract, " Pastner said after No. 21 Memphis beat the Saints 87-60 on Thursday night at the Old Spice Classic.
"He's the best. His teams play so hard. If I'm Siena's president, I would lock Coach Patsos up right now. I wouldn't wait. That program is going to get to where you're consistently going to the NCAA tournament. And eventually you're going to have a lot of these elite schools calling for him."
Still, the Saints (2-5) were no match for Memphis.
Siena got 11 points from Brett Bisping, but leading scorer Rob Poole (15.5 points per game) was held to six on 3-of-15 shooting. Poole missed his first seven shots before making a layup late in the first half.
"I expected us to compete a little harder than that," Patsos said. "I thought there were spurts we competed. They're a more talented team than us."
Patsos said the game was a wakeup call for his players.
"I had some guys wake up and realize you have to play at a high, high level," he said. "And you have to execute to win. We're trying to win the MAAC in March, and I saw a lot of bad habits that I'm responsible for as the head coach and I will do my best to break."
Joe Jackson scored 18 points and Shaq Goodwin had 17 as Memphis (3-1) advanced to the semifinals. Michael Dixon Jr. added 16 points.
The Tigers' lone loss this season came against No. 5 Oklahoma State, a game the Cowboys won handily 101-80 on Nov. 19. Memphis could get a rematch in the championship game of this event Sunday if both teams win Friday.
After a slow start, Memphis grabbed a 48-31 halftime advantage as Goodwin and Dixon both scored 13 points. Jackson added 12, including a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
Lavon Long's layup got Siena to 52-41 just 3½ minutes into the second half.
Jackson had a three-point play to give the Tigers a 59-41 lead with 15 minutes to go. Dixon extended the advantage to 71-47 on a 3-pointer.
Siena held two-point leads four times early on, including 8-6 when Bisping scored on a layup.
Memphis took its first lead, 10-8, on Goodwin's dunk 5½ minutes into the game.
Jackson's first points, on a layup midway through the half, made it 18-12.
The Tigers went ahead 32-18 when Dixon connected on his second long-range jumper 6 minutes before the break.