No. 18 Memphis Surges to 88-73 Victory Over USF
Dec. 31, 2013
TAMPA, Fla. - The No. 18 University of Memphis men's basketball team (10-2, 1-0 American) used a 21-4 run in the first half to surge to an 88-73 victory over USF (9-5, 0-1 American) on Tuesday night.
Geron Johnson led Memphis with 19 points, along with a career-high five steals, while Joe Jackson and Michael Dixon Jr. each added 18 points. David Pellom came off the bench to record 10 points and seven boards for the Tigers.
John Egbunu led USF with 20 points while Victor Rudd (17), Corey Allen Jr. (15) and Martino Brock (13) also reached double figures.
In the opening minutes, both teams traded baskets with neither squad holding more than a three-point edge. A layup from Johnson at the 13:34 mark put the Tigers up 13-10 before baskets from Dixon Jr. and Jackson and a three-pointer from Shaq Goodwin forced a South Florida timeout with the Bulls trailing 20-12 with 10:52 left in the half.
Memphis continued to extend their lead on USF as Dixon Jr. connected on back-to-back triples to give the Tigers a 28-14 advantage with 7:29 to play. The Bulls' next 10 points all came from the free-throw line to pull them within nine at 33-24, before a bucket at 3:56 from Goodwin gave the Tigers a double-digit lead once again.
Holding a 41-29 advantage with two minutes to go, Memphis ended the first half on a 7-3 run to take a comfortable 48-32 lead into the break.
The Tigers began to stretch their lead even further five minutes into the second half with Johnson and Crawford hitting treys to push the Memphis lead to 60-39 and force a USF timeout with 14:25 to go in the game.
Memphis continued to break away from the Bulls with a layup from Johnson followed by a three from Crawford to extend the Tigers' advantage to 70-43 with 11:33 to play. After a Pellom dunk that pushed the Memphis lead to 74-45, the Bulls reeled off a 9-0 run over the next two minutes to make it a 74-54 game with 6:49 remaining.
Austin Nichols ended the Memphis drought with back-to-back buckets, but the Bulls began to trim down their deficit to 17 after two free throws from Victor Rudd with 4:18 to play. Johnson answered on the other end for the Tigers with a trey to stretch the lead back to 20.
The Bulls ended the game on an 8-0 run over the final 2:01 to make the final score 88-73.
Memphis returns to FedExForum on Saturday to host Cincinnati at 11 a.m. (CT).