No. 15/14 Memphis Comes Up Short to No. 16/17 Florida, 77-75
Dec. 17, 2013
NEW YORK - An attempt to send the game into overtime in the final seconds came up just short for the No. 15/14 University of Memphis men's basketball team (7-2) Tuesday night as they fell 77-75 to No. 16-17 Florida (8-2) in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden.
With Florida holding a five-point lead with one minute to play, Shaq Goodwin converted one of two from the charity stripe to make it a 75-71 game. After Florida's Dorian Finney-Smith missed the one-and-one, a jumper from Joe Jackson pulled Memphis within a bucket with 31 seconds to go. Both teams traded points at the free-throw line before a miss by Scotty Wilbekin on a one-and-one gave Memphis the ball with 18 seconds left on the clock. With 11 seconds remaining out of the Memphis timeout, a contested layup from Jackson near the basket would be too strong off the backboard and give Florida the victory.
Jackson led Memphis with 17 points and five assists while Geron Johnson added 13 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Chris Crawford also hit double figures with 12 points on 4-of-7 from behind the arc while David Pellom (12) and Michael Dixon Jr. (10) came off the bench to reach double digit scoring.
Florida was led by Casey Prather, who finished with 22 points, while Finney-Smith chipped in 14.
The Gators jumped out to an 8-4 lead through the first four minutes of the game with a three-point basket from Wilbekin and a three-point play from Michael Frazier ll.
Pellom was the main contributor for the Tigers in the early stages, totaling six of Memphis' first eight points of the game. After a layup from Pellom to make it 13-8 Florida, the Gators reeled off five quick points to take an 18-8 advantage and force a Memphis timeout with 12:32 to play.
After a bucket from Prather that pushed the Florida lead to 12, Dixon Jr. answered with a jumper followed by a triple to pull the Tigers back within seven. Crawford also connected from deep to get Memphis to 23-19 with less than nine minutes to go in the half.
The Tigers kept adding momentum as Johnson stole the ball near midcourt and followed with a huge dunk to make it a two-point contest. After a tip-in from Patric Young, Jackson knocked down a three-pointer to get the Tigers within a point at 29-28.
The Gators distanced themselves over the next minute with back-to-back buckets to make it a 35-30 game, but the Tigers responded on the other end with two free throws from Dixon Jr. and a basket from Pellom to pull back within one.
Memphis took its first lead of the game after a double team forced a Florida turnover and resulted in a layup by Goodwin to give the Tigers a 36-35 lead with 2:41 to go.The Gators ended the period on a 6-2 run to take a 41-38 advantage into the half.
Johnson opened the second half scoring the first six points for the Tigers to give them a 44-43 lead. Florida answered with five-straight points from Finney-Smith to put the Gators back on top, 48-44, with 16:22 to play.
Memphis knotted it up at the 14:25 mark with a jumper from Johnson, but the Gators quickly retook the lead with a three from Frazier to go up 53-50.
With the game tied at 58, the Gators claimed a six-point advantage before Goodwin ended the Florida run with two free throws to make it 64-60 Florida with 8:31 to play. A three from Kasey Hill extended the Gators' lead to 69-61 with six minutes to go, but the Tigers came back once again with five-straight points to pull within three.
Memphis would hang close with the Gators through the final minutes, getting six of its final nine points from Jackson, until falling in the final seconds.
The Tigers return home Saturday when they face Southeast Missouri at FedExForum. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. (CT) and be aired on SportSouth.