Tigers Hold Off Upset-Minded Bulldogs, 65-54
Nov. 17, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The Memphis men's basketball team used an 11-3 run in the final four minutes of play to pick up a 65-54 victory over Samford and improved to 2-0 on the season at the FedExForum Saturday night.
In the final minutes of play, the Tigers converted on 9-of-9 from the free throw line to seal another win after Samford cut the Memphis lead to 54-51 with 4:21 remaining in the game. Joe Jackson and Adonis Thomas combined for nine of the Tigers' final 11 points to help the Tigers surge past the upset-minded Bulldogs.
For the second straight game, Ferrakohn Hall scored the Tigers' first points of the game as he split two defenders for a layup 30 seconds into the game. Jackson gave Memphis its first lead of the contest with two free throws to put the Tigers up 6-4 at the 16:31 mark.
Samford took back the lead five minutes later with two free throws from Tyler Hood to lead 12-11. Memphis answered quickly with a bucket by Shaq Goodwin in the paint before D.J. Stephens tipped in a basket for the Tigers to give them a 15-12 lead with 8:35 remaining in the half. Thomas gave Memphis its largest lead up until that point with a jumper for his sixth point of the game for a 17-12 advantage with eight minutes to play in the opening period.
After a Samford bucket, Antonio Barton knocked down Memphis' first trey of the game from the left wing for a 20-14 Memphis lead.
With just over a minute left in the half, a huge alley-oop from Thomas to Stephens gave Memphis a nine-point lead. A bucket by the Bulldogs on the other end brought the Memphis lead back to nine before a jumper in the paint by Jackson gave the Tigers a 33-24 lead heading into the locker room.
In the first half, the Tigers forced 10 turnovers while committing just one, but the Bulldogs kept it close by shooting 53 percent to Memphis' 48 percent. Barton led the Tigers with eight points in the first half, hitting 2-for-4 from behind the arc, while Thomas added six.
In the second half, the Bulldogs cut into the Memphis lead, 36-30, before the Tigers used a 6-0 run to take their largest lead of the game with 15:33 remaining.
Samford continued to hang in the game as a three-pointer by Hood made it 46-40 Memphis with 11:50 left. However, a three and a steal by Barton put Memphis back up 12 midway through the second half.
The Bulldogs weren't giving up yet, as they went on a 7-0 run to pull within three, 54-51, with four minutes remaining. With a chance to tie the game, Jackson forced a Samford turnover and took it to the other end of the court, drawing a foul on an attempted layup. Jackson made one of two free throws to put Memphis up by four with a little over three minutes to play.
After stopping the Bulldogs on their next possession, Thomas gave Memphis some breathing room with a jumper in the paint to push the lead to 57-51 with just under two minutes left.
The Tigers defense forced their 15th turnover of the game on the next possession before Thomas connected on two free throws to give Memphis a 59-51 advantage with under a minute to play. Samford was forced to foul the rest of the way as Jackson knocked down four-straight free throws to distance the Tigers from Samford, 63-53. After one of two free throws from Samford's Raijon Kelly, Chris Crawford pushed Memphis' lead up to 11 for a final score of 65-54.
Thomas led the Tigers with 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Barton and Jackson notched doubles figures in scoring for the second-straight game as Barton added 14 points for Memphis, shooting 4-of-7 behind the arc, while Jackson chipped in 13. Stephens led the team on the boards with seven.
Samford was led by Tim Williams, who had 21 points and six rebounds, while Kelly added 12 points for the Bulldogs.
Both teams ended the night shooting fairly even as the Tigers finished the game shooting 48 percent compared to Samford's 46 percent. In the rebounding category, Samford finished with 25 boards while Memphis had 24.
Memphis will play VCU in the second round of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Thanksgiving Day in Paradise Island, The Bahamas, at 6 p.m. CT. The Tigers will return to the FedExForum the following Thursday when they face UT Martin at 7 p.m.