The No. 21 Memphis Tigers earned a huge home win on Saturday as they rallied late in the game to beat No. 7 Louisville 72-66 on Saturday for an American Athletic Conference home win.
The Tigers went on a crucial 15-1 run and scored at least a point on eight consecutive possessions to close out the game as Memphis held Louisville without a field goal the final 4:47 of the game.
Louisville seemed to have all of the momentum with 4:47 remaining as Montrezl Harrell’s dunk put the Cardinals up 65-57, but the Tigers buckled down on the defensive end and began to get stops that led to transition buckets. Geron Johnson’s strip of Russ Smith and driving layup with 2:38 remaining tied the game at 65 and Chris Crawford’s three-pointer on the ensuing possession put the game away for good for Memphis.
The win gives Memphis a big season sweep over Louisville and even though Shaq Goodwin struggled to a 1-for-11 afternoon from the field, the Tigers still had a balanced scoring effort.
Mike Dixon (18 points), Johnson (15 points), Austin Nichols (14 points) and Crawford (12 points) all finished in double-figures and never stopped fighting on both ends of the floor.
Louisville had a monster effort from Harrell (25 points, 12 rebounds) but struggled when Russ Smith hit the bench with four fouls in the second half. Smith scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half and didn’t score the final 12 minutes of the game as the Cardinals struggled to find consistent offense besides Harrell.
Memphis dealt with its own foul issues as Chris Crawford had four fouls early in the second half and played through it to knock down four big three-pointers. The Tigers (22-7, 11-5) now have difficult tests at Cincinnati and at home against SMU to close out AAC play.
Louisville (24-5, 13-3) had a chance to take a one-game lead on Cincinnati in the AAC after the Bearcats’ afternoon road loss to UConn but are now tied atop the standings at 13-3. The Cardinals don’t have it easy, either, as they travel to SMU and host UConn to close out conference play.
The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.
Jeter, the 6-foot-10, played in a reserve role as a freshman, averaging 1.9 points and 1.9 rebounds per game last season. He will be part of a loaded frontline that includes heralded freshmen Harry Giles and Marques Bolden, as well as redshirt senior Amile Jefferson, who returns to the lineup following a foot injury.
The greatest player in Auburn program history will honored with a statue outside of the team’s home arena.
The university announced that Charles Barkley, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer, will be the fourth athlete to be given a statue, joining Heisman Trophy winners Bo Jackson, Pat Sullivan and Cam Newton.
“It just means a great deal to me,” Barkley said in a statement. “Being a kid from Alabama, going to Auburn. I think everybody knows what Auburn means to me. It’s going to be pretty cool.”
Barkley, currently working as an analyst for TNT, was the SEC Player of the Year in 1984, as well as a second team All-American. He averaged 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds per game in 84 appearances for the Tigers.