Memphis takes down SMU in ranked AAC battle
Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Joe Jackson totaled 18 points as No. 20 Memphis used a strong second half to dispatch 18th-ranked SMU, 67-58, at FedEx Forum.
Austin Nichols contributed 14 and nine rebounds for the Tigers (23-8, 12-6 AAC), who shook off a 13-point loss to Cincinnati their last time out.
Nic Moore recorded 16 points and seven assists for the Mustangs (23-8, 12-6), who dropped their final two games after winning three straight. Markus Kennedy and Nick Russell each had 13 in the setback.
The Tigers began the second half on a torrid pace, hitting nine of their first 11 field goals and scoring 21 of the first 30 points. SMU was forced to take a timeout following a Jackson layup with just over seven minutes played which provided the hosts a 47-39 edge.
Back-to-back triples a short time later from Chris Crawford pushed Memphis' advantage into double digits, at 53-41. Jackson's free throw upped the margin to 61-48 with 5:43 on the clock.
Buckets from Russell and Moore pulled the Mustangs to 61-54 nearly two minutes later, but Dixon's triple restored the Tigers' double-digit spread.
Kennedy's driving layup once again shrunk Memphis' lead to 64-58 inside of two minutes left, then Jackson countered with a three-point play and the hosts were up nine.
The Mustangs were subdued from that point, and missed their only decent shot attempt down the stretch.
Both teams played it close in the early going. SMU's 12-1 burst reversed a four-point deficit and turned it into a 24-17 advantage after a Moore triple with just over seven minutes remaining in the first half.
The Mustangs took a 30-26 lead to the break.
Memphis shot a sizzling 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the floor, including 6- of-13 from long range, in the second half and was good on 26-of-56 field goals for the contest ... Nichols added a game-best three blocks, while Russell and Michael Dixon turned the ball over four times apiece ... Crawford and Shaq Goodwin each recorded a game-high four steals.
03/08 15:01:12 ET