Tigers Blast Tennessee Tech at FedExForum - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

Tigers Blast Tennessee Tech at FedExForum

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Elliot Williams scored 23 points and

Doneal Mack added 20 in leading Memphis to a 92-59 victory over

 

 

Tennessee

Williams was 8-for-12 from the field as the Tigers (2-1)

overcame early shooting woes to finish hitting 56 percent from the

field.

Memphis shot better in the second half, connecting on 68 percent

of its shots (19 of 28), due to defensive pressure which led to

easy baskets.

Memphis also began to shoot better from outside the 3-point arc.

"We're playing well defensively, and that's leading to a lot of

offense," said Williams, who transferred from Duke during the

offseason. "Right now, our offense is a little stagnant, but our

defense has picked up a lot."

Willie Kemp added 11 points and six assists, while Roburt Sallie

finished with 10 points for Memphis, which was coming off a 57-55

loss to top-ranked Kansas on Tuesday night.

Kevin Murphy led the Golden Eagles (2-2) with 23 points,

including 15 after the break. Jud Dillard scored 12 for Tennessee, which never led in the game.

Tech

The Golden Eagles were playing their second game in as many

nights, and fourth straight on the road. They had trouble keeping

up with the Memphis defensive intensity, and coach Mike Sutton

acknowledged that his team ran out of gas.

"I was thoroughly impressed with their preparation," Sutton

said of Memphis in praising first-year Tiger coach Josh Pastner.

"I thought they handled things well and their schemes were really

good."

Memphis already had built a double-digit lead in the first half

and continued to extend the margin after intermission, eventually

leading by 38.

Tennessee Tech shot 43 percent from the field (23 of 54), but

was hindered by 24 turnovers.

Pastner praised the defensive intensity and how it contributed

to the Tigers offense. He and the Tiger players noted that it will

take that kind of effort all year if they are to be successful.

"We talked about how our identity is to be scrappy," Pastner

said. "To get after it, to stay after it, and to be scrappy. For

us to be able to have a chance to win games, we have to be

scrappy."

Memphis relied, unsuccessfully, on outside shooting early

against the Golden Eagles' zone defense. Memphis hit only two of

its first 10 shots, including 1 of 6 outside the arc.

Tennessee Tech was not having any better luck, missing seven of

its first eight shots

Memphis finally got untracked with a 17-2 run late in the first

half. The rally was capped by Williams' dunk, helping the Tigers

take a 40-23 lead at halftime.

"We had good shots," Williams said of the early misfires.

"We've just got to knock them down. Coach told us we had to drive

more because they seemed like they were having trouble stopping

that. That was about when the run started."

Williams scored 14 for Memphis, while Dillard had 10 in the

half.

Memphis benefited from a defense that forced 11 turnovers, which

allowed the Tigers to get out on the break. The pressure also

seemed to leave the Golden Eagles with contested shots, leading to

35 percent shooting (10 of 29) before halftime.

"We tried to change defenses. If we could have made shots early

on, we could have given them some different looks," Sutton said.

"They were quick to the ball, they made 3s, and they penetrated

and kicked."

The Tigers continued to extend the lead in the opening of the

second half, as fullcourt pressure forced more turnovers and easy

buckets. Memphis' advantage reached 25 in the early stages, and the

Tigers coasted the rest of the way.

"Overall, in terms of effort, toughness and scrappiness, I'm

proud of our guys," Pastner said.

 

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