March 8, 2014
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Joe Jackson scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half to lead No. 20 Memphis to a 67-58 victory over No. 18 SMU on Saturday.
Jackson hit his first four shots after intermission as the Tigers (23-8, 12-6 American Athletic Conference) shot 59 percent in the second half while building the lead to as many as 14.
Austin Nichols finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for Memphis.
Nic Moore led the Mustangs (23-8, 12-6) with 16 points. Nick Russell and Markus Kennedy scored 13 each for SMU, which lost its second straight, the first time this season the Mustangs have lost consecutive games.
Memphis found its range in the second 30 minutes, particularly from 3-point land. After missing all six 3s in the first half, Memphis connected on 6 of 13 in the second half.
The Tigers opened the second half with seven straight points, and the game settled into a close affair until Memphis went on another run of nine consecutive points for a 47-39 lead with 12:42 left. At that point, Memphis had connected on 9 of 11 shots in the half.
The rally would extend to 20-5, capped by a drive by Geron Johnson giving Memphis a 58-44 lead, its largest of the game with 8:58 left.
Senior Chris Crawford scored all nine of his points in the game during the rally converting a trio of 3-pointers over a minute and a half.
SMU would get no closer than six the rest of the game.
The first half was intense and sloppy, with tough defense and erratic passing. The Mustangs held a 30-26 lead at halftime behind 10 points from Moore.
The Mustangs built the lead on a trio of 3-pointers around the 8-minute mark, the final one from Moore for a 24-17 lead, the largest advantage for either team in the first half. Both teams were shooting under 37 percent at the break. SMU was 4 of 9 from outside the arc, while Memphis missed all six of its shots from long range in the half.
Moore and Russell were a combined 5 of 10. The rest of the Mustangs were 6 of 20. Memphis' senior guards -- Jackson, Johnson, Crawford and Michael Dixon -- playing their final regular-season home game, were 3 of 17 in the half.
Add to that 10 Memphis turnovers and eight from the Mustangs and it was a tough half offensively for both teams. Memphis would end the game with 18 turnovers compared to 17 for SMU. The Mustangs shot 40 percent for game.
SMU now waits on the outcome of today's Louisville-Connecticut contest in Louisville, Ky., to find out the Mustangs' seeding in next week's American Athletic Conference Basketball Championship. If Louisville wins, SMU will be the No. 3 seed and will play the No. 6 seed Houston next Thursday, March 13 at 12 p.m. CT. If Connecticut defeats Louisville, the Mustangs will be the No. 4 seed and will play at 8 p.m. CT next Thursday against No. 5 seed Memphis. Both games will be broadcast on ESPNU. SMU tickets to the conference tournament are available online at smumustangs.com/tickets.