Memphis Falls to Saint Louis, 61-54
March 16, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Will Barton was the Tigers' lone double-figure scorer with 16 points, but it wasn't enough as Memphis fell to Saint Louis 61-54 in the NCAA Tournament second round at the Nationwide Arena. Barton also had four rebounds and one steal in 38 minutes of action.
Wesley Witherspoon, playing in his final game wearing the Blue and Gray, added eight points and two boards. Joe Jackson scored eight points and dished out four assists, while Chris Crawford had a game-best three steals.
The Billikens' Kwamain Mitchell led all scorers with 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-7 from the arc. Brian Conklin added 16 points, while Dwayne Evans grabbed a game-high 11 boards.
The Tigers trailed 27-24 at the 17:39 mark of the second half, but responded with a 13-2 spurt over the next six minutes to take a 37-29 lead with 11:51 left. Barton scored six points in the run, and Witherspoon added a slam dunk off a Jackson assist.
Saint Louis, though, answered with a 14-5 spurt of its own to take a 43-42 advantage with 6:24 on the clock. Mitchell hit two layups and a desperation trey - his second of the game - in the run, and Rob Loe added a three-pointer to put the Billikens in the lead for good.
From that point, Saint Louis went on another run, this time 9-1, to push its lead to 52-44 at the 3:02 mark. Mitchell nailed another three-pointer, and Conklin went 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. The Tigers pulled to within four points on a couple of occasions, but couldn't get closer.
The first half was tight throughout with five ties, three lead changes and the largest lead being three points. Memphis a 23-20 lead after an Adonis Thomas jumper with :28 left, but Mitchell's first desperation trey at the first-half buzzer tied the contest at 23-all at the break.
Memphis shot 38.9 percent from the floor and 58.8 percent from the free throw line. Saint Louis hit 45.7 percent from the field, 38.5 percent from the arc and 77.8 percent from the charity stripe. The Billikens won the battle on the glass 34-29.
The Tigers defense forced 17 Saint Louis turnovers, including eight steals, and scored 15 points off those miscues. The Billikens defense slowed down Memphis' transition offense, holding the Tigers to only six fast-break points.