No. 21 Memphis' Late Push Takes Down No. 7 Louisville, 72-66
March 1, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - A 15-1 run over the final 4:23 of the game lifted the No. 21 University of Memphis men's basketball team (22-7, 11-5 American) to a 72-66 victory over No. 7 Louisville (24-5, 13-3 American) on Saturday afternoon at FedExForum. Memphis swept the season series with the Cardinals after a 73-67 win at Louisville back on Jan. 9.
After Louisville took a 65-57 lead with 4:47 to play, the Cardinals missed their final eight shots from the field and Michael Dixon Jr. scored seven of Memphis' final 15 points to give Memphis the upset win. Dixon Jr. scored six-straight for Memphis before a layup by Geron Johnson with 2:36 to play knotted the game up at 65-all. Chris Crawford then knocked down a three-pointer at the top of the key with 1:40 remaining to give the Tigers the lead for good at 68-65.
Dixon Jr. led the Tigers for the second-straight game with 18 points, going 9-of-9 from the charity stripe. Johnson added 15 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field, while Austin Nichols (14) and Crawford (12) also reached double figures. Shaq Goodwin was strong on the defensive end for Memphis, pulling down 10 boards while adding three blocks and four steals to pace the team.
Montrezl Harrell led the Cardinals with 25 points and 12 rebounds, while Russ Smith (19) and Luke Hancock (11) also notched double digits.
Memphis assisted on 17 of its 24 made baskets and shot 49 percent from the floor compared to Louisville's 40 percent. The Tigers finished the game shooting 67 percent (6-of-9) from behind the arc while the Cardinals struggled by going 4-of-23 (17 percent).
The Tigers jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first minute and a half with four points from Nichols and a monster dunk from Johnson. Louisville answered with five-straight points after a three-point play from Smith to make it 6-5 with 15:39 to play in the first half.
Memphis extended its lead to five after a layup from Nick King and a free throw by Jackson for a 13-7 game. A dunk from Harrell brought Louisville within four before Crawford connected from deep to stretch it to 16-9 with 11:47 to play.
Smith kept the Cardinals in the game early with a layup at the 7:54 mark to pull Louisville within four, but Memphis responded on the other end as Johnson knocked down a three-pointer to push the Tigers' lead to 27-20.
The Cardinals put together a 6-0 spurt after a Memphis turnover on the inbounds pass allowed an easy Harrell dunk for a 27-26 score. Another turnover on the inbounds by the Tigers resulted in a layup by Harrell to tie the game, but Memphis went on a 7-0 run to put some separation between Louisville late in the period. A basket by Nichols began the run before King scored three straight for the Tigers and a fastbreak dunk by Johnson capped it off for a 37-30 advantage with 41 seconds to go. Memphis would go into the break with a 37-31 lead.
Harrell pulled Louisville within two with four-straight points out of halftime. After a basket by Nichols to make it 41-38, the Cardinals went on a 6-0 run as a jumper by Chris Jones gave Louisville its first lead of the game with 16:14 left. A layup by Smith capped off the run to push the score to 44-41 at the first media timeout.
The Tigers kept it close thanks to Dixon Jr., who recorded six-straight points to put Memphis back ahead at 47-46 with 12:27 remaining. The Memphis advantage wouldn't last long as a three by Harrell as the shot clock expired gave Louisville a 51-49 lead midway through the half. Harrell scored again for the Cardinals to stretch their lead to four before Dixon Jr. hit from long range to bring Memphis back within one.
Louisville increased its lead to five, but a three by Crawford pulled Memphis back into it. The Cardinals kept distancing themselves as six-straight points gave them a 65-57 advantage with less than five minutes to play. However, Memphis would control the game from there to record the 72-66 victory.
Memphis heads to Cincinnati on Thursday for its final regular season road game with a 6 p.m. (CT) contest against the Bearcats. The game will be aired on ESPN.