Tigers Round-Up the Herd with Gritty Effort, 83-76
Jan. 28, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Will Barton dropped in a career-high 29 points and Tarik Black chipped in a season-high 19 points for Memphis, which pulled out an 83-76 win against visiting Marshall on Saturday night in FedExForum. Wesley Witherspoon provided a key second-half spark for the Tigers and totaled 12 points in the contest.
Memphis (15-6, 6-1 C-USA) was trailing Marshall (13-8, 4-3 C-USA) by three points, 62-59, when Witherspoon began to make his presence felt. He first grabbed an errant pass in the paint and took it the length of the floor for a lay-in. Witherspoon then ignited the crowd with another steal and coast-to-coast layup on the next Marshall possession. He followed by taking a charge on the defensive end, which led to a free throw by Black.
On the ensuing possession, Witherspoon stole the ball from Dennis Tinnon. Tinnon was whistled for an intentional foul for grabbing ahold of Witherspoon in the open court. The senior forward knocked down both shots from the charity stripe. Will Barton sunk a 15-foot jumper to give Memphis the lead, 66-62, with 7:21 left.
After the Thundering Herd tied the game at 66-all, Joe Jackson hit a three-pointer and Witherspoon tipped-in his own missed shot to put the Tigers out in front for good. Memphis sealed the game with six free throws and a Chris Crawford dunk in the final 59-seconds.
The Tigers shot the ball particularly well, making 30-of-54 (55.6 percent) of its field goal attempts despite only making 2-of-10 (20.0 percent) from long range. The Thundering Herd went 24-for-54 (44.4 percent) from the floor and 6-for-17 (35.3 percent), including 2-for-11 (18.2 percent) in the second half, from three-point territory.
Black proved formidable in the lane, sinking 8-of-11 (72.7 percent) shots and helping Memphis to a 48-28 advantage in points in the paint. However, Marshall outscored Memphis in transition, posting a 16-4 margin in fast-break points.
Marshall led, 41-40, at the end of a testy first half. The referees handed out a pair of technical fouls for two-separate instances where players were jawing back-and-forth. Marshall's Tinnon and DeAndre Kane and Memphis' Antonio Barton and Crawford were the four individuals on the receiving end of the technical-foul calls.
Both teams connected on 50 percent of their first half shots, with Memphis going 17-of-34 and Marshall shooting 14-of-28. From beyond the arc, the Tigers shot 1-for-5 (20.0 percent), compared to 4-of-6 (66.7 percent) for the Thunder Herd. Memphis owned the paint, 26-14, but Marshall held the advantage in fast-break points, 12-2.
Will Barton was dominant in the opening frame, tallying 15 points and grabbing seven caroms. Kane led Marshall with 12 points and Damier Pitts chipped in 11.
Marshall had three players finish in double-figures at game's end, led by Shaquille Johnson's 21 points. Pitts and Kane added 19 and 15 points, respectfully, for the Thundering Herd.
Memphis takes to the road for a C-USA battle with Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss., Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. (CT). In a hard-fought battle earlier this season, the Tigers took down the Golden Eagles, 60-58. Antonio Barton led the Tigers with 13 points and Will Barton added 11 points and nine rebounds. Tarik Black chipped in nine points and a game-high 10 rebounds.