At halftime tonight in Dallas, the Tigers had four assists, seven turnovers, and 22 points. Happily for coach Josh Pastner and his squad, the SMU Mustangs missed 20 of their first 25 shots and only had 17 points at the break.
Memphis survived a second straight nail-biter on the road to earn its 13th consecutive win and improve to 19-3 on the season. With UCF's victory over Southern Miss, the Tigers now own sole possession of first place in Conference USA with an 8-0 record in league play. The U of M and Golden Eagles (18-5) will meet this Saturday in Hattiesburg.
Tiger freshman center Shaq Goodwin was charged with a flagrant foul when he slammed SMU's Jalen Jones to the floor late in the second half. Not only was Goodwin ejected from the game, but he'll likely face a suspension and miss Saturday's game at Southern Miss.
The Mustangs used an 8-0 run to close a 12-point Memphis lead to 34-30 with 12 minutes to play in the game. Junior guard Geron Johnson hit a trey to extend the lead back to nine (43-34) with just over six minutes left, then hit another three-pointer for a 48-40 Memphis lead with four minutes left on the clock. Coach Larry Brown's team wouldn't get closer than five points the remainder of the game.
Johnson led all scorers with 19 points and sophomore forward Adonis Thomas had his best game in a couple of weeks with 14 points and nine rebounds. But most of the numbers from Moody Coliseum were ugly. Despite Johnson hitting five of nine three-point attempts, the Tigers shot 29.8 percent for the game, while SMU shot 31.1 percent and missed 11 of 12 three-point tries. Nick Russell led SMU (12-12) with 17 points.
Juniors Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford, and Tarik Black combined to make three of 16 field-goal attempts for Memphis. Particularly if Goodwin is sidelined, the trio will have to step up for the Tiger winning streak to reach 14 games.