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February 26, 2012
Memphis Tigers Trample the Herd, Earn Bye
Four Tigers scored in double figures, and The University of Memphis Tigers basketball team (21-8, 11-3 in Conference USA) used a 52 points in the paint to secure a win on the road against the Marshall Thundering Herd (17-11, 8-6 in C-USA), 87-67, Saturday afternoon in Huntingdon, West Virginia.
The game was much closer than the final score indicated. Memphis had only a five point lead at halftime, 42-37, but the Thundering Herd score four quick points out of halftime to close the gap to 42-41. A see-saw battle over the next few minutes would eventually end up in the Tigers' favor.
Memphis took a 63-50 lead, its largest of the game up to that point, when sophomore guard Chris Crawford split a pair of free throws at the 10:06 mark. Marshall's DeAndre Kane connected on a three-pointer to cut the lead to the 63-54, but sophomore forward Tarik Black dunked on the other end for Memphis to regain the double-digit lead.
Will Barton made two more free throws to push the lead back to 13 at 67-54, but Johnson made a long-range triple on the next play for Marshall to make it 67-57 with 7:43 to go. DeAndre Kane made a second three-pointer for the Herd, and Marshall pulled within 67-60 with 6:45 to play, but it was the closest the Herd would come for the rest of the game.
Over the final 6:45, Memphis closed the game on a 20-7 run, spurred by back-to-back three-point plays by Will Barton (who finished with a game-high 24 points, along with six rebounds and three steals). The Tigers put four other layers in double figures: sophomores Black, Crawford and Joe Jackson.
Black finished with 18 points (8-for-8 from the field), Jackson tallied 21 points while sinking 13-of-15 free throws, and Crawford did it all with 16 points, eight assists, seven rebounds and three steals.
With the win, Memphis will have a first-round bye in the upcoming C-USA tournament held in Memphis, TN. The Tigers return to Memphis to play its final home game of the regular season at FedExForum against UCF on Tuesday night, February 28th, at 8 p.m.