No. 24 Memphis Takes Bite Out of No. 23/20 Bulldogs, 60-54
Feb. 8, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The No. 24 University of Memphis men's basketball team (18-5, 7-3 American) held No. 23/20 Gonzaga (21-4, 11-1 WCC) scoreless in the final 3:18 as the Tigers rallied to a 60-54 victory in front of 18,248 fans Saturday night at FedExForum.
A layup by Michael Dixon Jr. at the 1:12 mark put the Tigers up for good at 55-54 as Memphis forced two Gonzaga turnovers in the final minute of play. Dixon Jr., Chris Crawford and Joe Jackson all converted free throws in the final seconds to secure the victory for the Tigers.
Although the Tigers were held to 35 percent from the field compared to the Bulldogs' 45 percent, Memphis tallied 18 points from the charity stripe while Gonzaga recorded just six from the line.
Crawford and Dixon Jr. each posted 11 points in the win while Jackson and Shaq Goodwin added 10 apiece.
Gonzaga was led by Sam Dower, who totaled 18 points on 9-of-12 from the field, while Przemek Karnowski and Gerard Coleman each recorded 12 points in the loss.
With Gonzaga up 5-1 four minutes into the game, Austin Nichols converted the Tigers' first field goal at the 15:39 mark to spark an 11-0 run for Memphis over the next four and a half minutes. A three-pointer by Crawford put the Tigers ahead at 8-5 before Geron Johnson drove the baseline and found a wide open basket to slam it home and push the advantage to five. A layup by David Pellom capped off the run with a basket for a 12-5 lead with 11:11 to play.
Gonzaga answered with a 12-0 spurt with six points coming from Dower to give the Bulldogs a 17-12 lead with 7:27 remaining in the half.
The Tigers pulled closer as Dominic Woodson skied through the air to put down a missed shot and make it a 17-16 contest with just over six minutes to go.
The Bulldogs then stretched it to 22-16 with five-straight points from Coleman for their largest lead of the half.
Crawford kept the Tigers in the game with back-to-back threes to bring the Tigers within two at 24-22 with 1:46 left in the half. Gonzaga would go into the locker room holding a 25-22 lead.
The Bulldogs came out of the break with five points in the first minute of action after a three from Gary Bell Jr. followed by a layup from Dower to build a 30-22 advantage.
Memphis would pull within six points of Gonzaga before the Bulldogs extended their lead to 42-30 after an intentional foul by Memphis that helped Gonzaga record four quick points.
Gonzaga began the half going 7-of-8 from the field, but a block by Jackson on the 7'1" Karnowski sparked the Memphis crowd and rattled the Bulldogs. Gonzaga then missed their next six of seven shots from the floor to help the Tigers pull within 44-42 with 8:16 to play.
The Bulldogs didn't allow Memphis to get any closer, responding with an 8-1 run after four points each from Dower and Karnowski to make it 52-43 with 5:15 remaining.
Memphis staged another comeback with Dixon Jr. connecting from long range before two free throws from Nick King brought the Tigers within four. Dixon then made a drive in the paint to make it a two-point game at 52-50 with less than four minutes to play.
A jumper by Kevin Pangos pushed the Bulldogs lead back to four, but the Tigers went inside to Goodwin to make it a one-possession game once again.
A free throw by Jackson brought Memphis within one before a layup by Dixon Jr. lifted the Tigers to its first lead since the 9:23 mark in the first half at 55-54. Memphis would lead the rest of the game on its way to a 60-54 victory.
Memphis wraps up its homestand Wednesday when the Tigers return to American Athletic Conference play to face UCF at 8 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on ESPNU.