Tigers Outrun the Pirates, 70-47, to Earn 20th Win
Feb. 22, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's basketball team opened the second half on a 10-2 run before cruising to a 70-47 victory over visiting East Carolina on Wednesday night at FedExForum. Conference USA leading-scorer Will Barton dropped in a game-high 25 points and pulled down nine rebounds.
Leading by just five points after the opening 20 minutes, the Tigers began the second half with renewed energy. In the spurt to start the second half, Barton, Tarik Black, Ferrakohn Hall and Antonio Barton combined to score the Tigers first 10 points and take a double-digit lead.
East Carolina pulled within 10 points, 49-39, but the Tigers used suffocating defense to hold the Pirates at bay, allowing only 15 second-half points on 6-for-27 (22.2 percent) shooting in the second half. ECU finished the game 28.6 percent (14-of-49) from the floor.
Memphis, which improved to 20-8 overall and 10-3 in C-USA, forced East Carolina into 26 turnovers and gathered a season-high-tying 15 steals. Meanwhile, the Tigers connected on 26-of-56 (46.4 percent) of their field-goal attempts.
Joe Jackson, who earned his first start since Dec. 22 against Georgetown, finished with 13 points, seven assists and five rebounds. Antonio Barton was the third Tiger in double-figures with 11 points and Tarik Black contributed nine points and nine boards. Wesley Witherspoon plucked a season-high five steals in the game.
Miguel Paul scored 20 points to lead ECU, which dropped to 12-14 overall and 3-10 in C-USA with the loss. Shamarr Bowden was the only other Pirate to reach double-digits with 13 points and Robert Sampson hauled in a game-high 10 boards.
Will Barton and Jackson combined for 28 first-half points, helping Memphis build a 37-32 halftime lead. The Tigers shot 56.0 percent (14-of-25) from the floor and held the Pirates to just 36.4 percent (8-of-22) shooting in the opening frame.
Memphis heads to Huntington, W.Va., to face Conference USA-foe Marshall on Saturday at 3:00 p.m. (CT). The two teams met earlier this season at FedExForum, with the Tigers grabbing the 83-76 victory.