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Witherspoon and No. 19 Memphis win easily

Nov 18, 2010 - 4:46 AM Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Wesley Witherspoon's game-high 24 points and 12 rebounds helped No. 19 Memphis beat Northwestern State, 94-79, at FedExForum.

Will Barton came off the bench for 22 points for the Tigers (3-0), who beat Miami by four on Monday.

"Will Barton saved us without a question off the bench offensively," Memphis Head Coach Josh Pastner said. "Tarik Black saved us as well. Wesley Witherspoon saved us too. Chris Crawford's defense on Will Pratt, who kicked our butt all night long, but when we put him on him, he shut him down and did a great job."

Will Pratt had 23 points and six rebounds for Northwestern State (1-2), which recorded its first win on Monday with an 87-78 decision over Houston Baptist. Devon Baker had 15 points and Louis Ellis added 11 points in the loss.

Memphis started the game with a 15-4 run that was concluded by Antonio Barton's free throws with 14:31 left to play in the half. The Tigers continued to put the pressure on and saw their lead as big as 19 with 9 1/2 minutes left.

With time expiring in the opening half, Witherspoon scored on a tip-in to give the Tigers a 57-44 lead.

Northwestern State did claw its way back during the first 6 1/2 minutes of the second half. The Demons went on a 17-4 run during that time to knot the game at 61. The tying basket came from Louis Ellis who had a layup off an assist by Patrick Robinson.

Baker stole the ball from Will Barton 11 seconds later and hit a fastbreak jumper to give Northwestern State its only lead of the game, 63-61, with 13:12 left.

"We were able to put a few points on the board and get a little enthusiasm," Northwestern State head coach Mike McConathy said. "(In the second half) We backed off and did something differently on their guards, and I think that helped us until the end of the game when they just overpowered us. But I think our kids made a great adjustment getting back because in the first half all they (Memphis) did was take us off the dribble and beat us to the goal. I thought the kids bought into our intensity and that is why we came out with a good run at the beginning (of the second half)."

Several minutes later, Memphis jumped to a 10-point lead, 75-65, when Tarik Black scored off a William Mosely missed shot. The Tigers didn't look back during the final eight minutes of the game where they saw their lead grow as big as 16 on two Witherspoon free throws with 1:25 left to play.

Game Notes

Memphis shot 49.2 percent from the field while the Demons shot 42.9 percent...The Tigers outrebounded Northwestern State, 42-28...Memphis made 29-of-35 shots from the charity stripe.