Surging Tigers Use Second-Half Run to Defeat Musketeers, 72-68
Feb. 4, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Memphis used a 17-1 run over a six-minute span at the end of the game to defeat Xavier, 72-68. Wesley Witherspoonscored 12 points, all in the second half, to give Memphis (16-7) the spark it needed to defeat Xavier (15-8).
"We just gutted that out," Memphis head coach Josh Pastnersaid. "We just had to grind that out. To get that type of win is fantastic. That's an NCAA Tournament team."
Xavier opened the second half with nine-straight points to grab a double-digit lead. But, similar to the game against Marshall, Witherspoon came off the bench to provide a spark for Memphis.
In a 3-minute span, Witherspoon knocked down a pair of three-point shots and drew a charge on the defensive end, helping the Tigers cut the Musketeer's lead to six, 62-56, with under six minutes to play.
After an Andre Walker free throw for XU, Witherspoon finished an old-fashioned three-point play and ignited the 17,097 fans in attendance.
Witherspoon, Jackson and Barton knocked down free throws in the final seconds to preserve the victory.
Jackson finished the game with a team-high 14 points, including a perfect 12-for-12 from the charity stripe, and handed out a career-high-tying eight assists.
Tarik Black narrowly missed a double-double, posting 13 points and nine rebounds and scored seven of the first nine points in the game for Memphis. Leading scorer Will Bartonadded 13 points and five rebounds.
The Tigers made 43.1 percent (22-of-51) of their shots, despite only making 28.6 percent (4-of-14) from long range. The Musketeers finished the game shooting 46.3 percent (25-of-54), but made just one of their last seven shots from the floor. Xavier connected on 40.0 percent (6-of-15) from three-point territory.
Will Barton scored 10 points, but Memphis found itself trailing Xavier, 35-34, at the conclusion of the first 20 minutes of action. Tarik Blackchipped in nine points and both Barton and Black grabbed four rebounds.
Both teams shot an identical 13-of-27 (48.1 percent) from the field in the first half, but Xavier connected on 3-of-7 (42.9 percent) from three-point range compared to only 1-of-7 (14.3 percent) for Memphis.
The highlight of the night came midway through the first half when Jackson missed a contested-fastbreak layup. D.J. Stephenswas there to collect the miss and finish with a one-handed tip-dunk.
Dezmine Wells led Xavier with 19 points and big-man Kenny ¬Frease posted a double-double of 10 points and 10 boards. Mark Lyons tallied 14 points and XU's leading-scorer Tu Holloway was limited to 12 points and seven assists.
Memphis travels to Greenville, N.C., for the first of two contests against East Carolina. The two teams split last season's series, with each team holding serve on their homecourt. The Tigers lead the all-time series, 9-1.