Tigers Sink Pirates 67-54 in C-USA Opener
Jan. 9, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -The University of Memphis men's basketball team (11-3, 1-0 C-USA) fended off a second half run by East Carolina (9-5, 0-1 C-USA) to capture a 67-54 victory and its league-record 200th Conference USA win Wednesday night at FedExForum.
After ECU took a 3-0 lead off a Miguel Paul trey, the Tigers reeled off a 10-0 run over the next 3:25 with four Tigers contributing on the offensive end and D.J. Stephens controlling the defensive side with five rebounds and two blocks.
Memphis continued to open up its lead with a jumper from Adonis Thomas followed by a three from Antonio Barton to build an 18-5 advantage at the 11:24 mark. The Pirates got just its second field goal of the game midway through the first period with a jumper from Ty Armstrong to make the score 18-7.
Chris Crawford and Ferrakohn Hall got in on the offensive action to push the Tigers' lead to 22-7 with eight minutes left in the half. The Memphis defense kept ECU on its heels, forcing two turnovers and a shot clock violation on three-straight possessions while the offense continued to click with a trey from Crawford followed by a layup down low from Tarik Black. Another three from Barton gave Memphis a demanding 32-9 lead with four and a half minutes to play in the half.
A layup from Damien Wilson gave Memphis its largest lead of the half at 39-12 with 2:16 to go. Following the Wilson bucket, the Pirates began a 7-0 run with Maurice Kemp giving ECU all seven points to go into the half down 20, 39-19.
At the half, 10 Tigers had scored for Memphis with Joe Jackson leading the team with seven points. The Tigers outrebounded the Pirates 23-11 in the first period and had a 24-8 advantage in the paint. The 19 points by ECU was the lowest total at the half by a Memphis opponent since last year's Feb. 28 contest against UCF when the Knights scored 18.
The Pirates came out red-hot in the second half, scoring 14 points in less than three minutes. ECU connected on six-straight baskets, including four from long range, to bring their run to 21-0 over 4:17 and cut Memphis' lead to 39-33.
The Tigers ended a five-minute scoring drought with a 7-2 run of their own to make it 46-35 with 13 minutes remaining in the game. However, ECU would not go away easily, pulling back within five after a tip-in off a missed free throw.
The Memphis offense responded with three-straight baskets to increase its lead to 55-44 before ECU's eighth three of the game pulled the Pirates back within single digits with eight minutes to play.
A three by Robert Sampson gave the Pirates just a seven-point deficit but that would be the closest they would get as Memphis finished the game on a 6-0 run to earn a 67-54 win.
Jackson led the Tigers with 15 points, his 10th-straight game in double figures while Shaq Goodwin finished with 12 points and eight rebounds. Memphis held an advantage in rebounding (41-23), points in the paint (40-16), fast break points (17-6) and bench scoring (25-6), while the Pirates outshot Memphis behind the arc (9-4).
Memphis heads to Birmingham on Saturday to face UAB at 7:30 p.m. (CT) at Bartow Arena. The game will be televised on CSS.