Tigers Overcome First Half Deficit, Beat CBU 66-45
Nov. 9, 2009
MEMPHIS - The University of Memphis basketball team once again found itself behind late in the first half and entered the locker room down by one at halftime to cross-town Christian Brothers University on Monday night at the FedExForum.
But like its previous exhibition game earlier last week against LeMoyne Owen, the Tigers used a strong second half to pull away with a 66-45 victory over CBU. Memphis outpaced the Bucs 38-16 in the final half after being down by as much as 14 with 7:49 left in the first.
"Winning is hard," said Memphis head coach Josh Pastner. "It takes great effort, focus, execution and discipline. All I know is that we got the win. It wasn't pretty. We have a lot to work on. But the bottom line is that we got the win."
Sophomore Elliot Williams led the team with 15 points and added four assists and two rebounds. Also scoring double digits for Memphis were sophomore Wesley Witherspoon, who had 14 points and a team-high six rebounds and six steals, and junior Roburt Sallie who finished with 11 points and three rebounds.
After beginning the game with a 3-0 lead on a layup by Witherspoon and a free throw from Williams, Memphis watched CBU steadily gain momentum behind a 50 percent shooting percentage. The Bucs made seven threes in the opening half, led by three from Kyle Couvion who had nine points in the first half.
After shooting 7-for-15 from the three in the second half, CBU converted just two of its 10 attempts in the second half.
"Memphis made some good adjustments," said Christian Brothers Head Coach Mike Nienaber. "We were making the threes early, but we couldn't get the passes for the threes later in the game. "
Connor Wetzel also scored nine first half points to help the Bucs gain a 29-28 advantage at the half. Wetzel finished with a team-high 14 points.
A made free throw by Williams with 14:56 left in the second half gave Memphis a 35-34 lead, which it never relinquished. The Tigers led by as many as 23 points with two minutes left in the game, before finishing with the 21-point victory.
Senior Pierre Henderson-Niles finished with eight points for Memphis, while senior Willie Kemp led the team in minutes with 34 and had five points and three assists.
Memphis will open its 2009-10 season on Friday at the FedExForum against Jackson State. The game is the second part of a doubleheader with the U of M women's basketball team. The women's team will open its season against Indiana at 5 p.m. followed by the men's game at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12 for both games.