Tigers Top Islanders, 68-63
Dec. 20, 2010
By: Preston McClellan
MEMPHIS - Joe Jackson scored a career-high 23 points, and Memphis (9-1) survived another close call as the Tigers hung on to beat Texas A&M-Corpus Christi 68-63 Monday night at FedExForum.
The Tigers founds themselves ahead 20-14 with eight minutes to go in the first half, but lackadaisical passing and cold shooting allowed the Islanders to reel off an 8-0 run to grab the lead 22-20 with 6:10 to go. Memphis responded with its own 6-0 mini-run, but Texas A&M CC finished the half on a 7-2 run to claim a 29-28 advantage going into the half.
Memphis came out of the break firing and regained the lead 33-29 after a triple from Jackson and a layup from Will Coleman, who finished with 15 points, nine boards, and four blocks in a team-high 32 minutes.
The Islanders again responded, however, and went on a 9-2 run to retake the lead 38-35 with 12:25 remaining in the game. Memphis battled back again and found itself trailing 45-43 with just under 10 minutes to play.
After back-to-back layups from Jackson, Antonio Barton drove hard to the bucket to get the hoop and the harm for an old fashioned three point play that put Memphis ahead for good, 46-45.
Texas A&M CC cut the lead to three on four different occasions in the final 6:14, but clutch free throw shooting and solid ball handling allowed the Tigers to keep the Islanders at bay.
Drew Barham then split a pair of free throws with 33 seconds remaining to make it a two possession game at 65-61 and effectively put the game away for Memphis.
Charles Carmouche, coming off a 16-point performance against Austin Peay, was the only other Tiger to finish in double figures. The junior transfer from New Orleans finished with 12 points and six rebounds in 31 minutes.
The Islanders (4-7) were led by Hollis Hill, who scored 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting in 21 minutes off the bench. Terence Jones and Justin Reynolds finished with 11 apiece.
Memphis held Desmond Wyatt, the Islanders' leading scorer, to zero points and four rebounds in the first half. Wyatt responded with a 10-point, four rebound effort in the second half.
With the victory, the Tigers improve to 9-1 on the season, which ties the 2005-06 team for the second-best 10-game start to a season in program history. The lone better start was by the 2007-08 team, which started the season perfect 10-0 en route to a NCAA-tying 38-2 record and an appearance in the NCAA Championship.
After giving up 24 turnovers against Austin Peay last Thursday, Memphis buckled down and took care of the ball. The Tigers committed just 13 turnovers Monday night, and while it only forced 11 miscues by Texas A&M CC, Memphis converted them in 13 points off turnovers.
The Tigers return to the friendly confines of FedExForum this Thursday, Dec. 23 for a non-conference tilt against Georgetown. Gametime is scheduled for 7 p.m. with the game to be televised on ESPN2.