No. 21 Memphis edges East CarolinaJan 9, 2011 - 1:23 AM Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Tarik Black notched 12 points and seven rebounds as No. 21 Memphis nipped East Carolina, 61-58, in the Conference USA opener for both schools at FedEx Forum.
Will Coleman added 11 points for the Tigers (12-3, 1-0 C-USA), who have won three of their last four.
"We got the win, but to come off the way we played against Tennessee, I knew we would be tight," said Memphis head coach Josh Pastner.
Darrius Morrow's 17 points wasn't quite enough for the Pirates (8-7, 0-1), who have lost five of six. Jamar Abrams scored 15 and Brock Young added 10 points in defeat.
Wesley Witherspoon, who turned the ball over six times in the contest, notched the go-ahead free throws with 2:54 to play that gave Memphis a 58-56 advantage.
ECU missed two shots on its next trip down the court, then after Antonio Barton couldn't hit from long distance and Young missed a layup. However, Witherspoon gave up the ball and Erin Straughn missed a trey and Abrams followed by missing a put-back.
Morrow later couldn't hit a layup with 26 seconds to play, and Straughn fouled Barton, who hit the first try from the line to make it 59-56, but missed the second.
Barton, though, stripped Young and hit a foul shot to make it a four-point game, and Morrow again blew an easy deuce. Joe Jackson made 1-of-2 from the line with three seconds to go and the Pirates didn't take a shot at the buzzer.
"We should have won this game. It was really frustrating for us," said ECU head coach Jeff Lebo. "We had some big offensive rebounds, but offensively we struggled out of the gate. We missed a lot of shots, but our execution was much better."
Memphis used an 18-8 run to close out the first half and took a 33-21 lead to intermission thanks to six points each from Black and Coleman.
ECU got within 45-43 on an Abrams lay-in, then rallied again to forge a 49-all deadlock with 7:59 remaining when Young hit a three off the break. The Pirates did take a 54-53 lead with 6:07 to go after Young connected on a jumper and Jontae Sherrod's layup inside four minutes left tied the game at 56-56.
Memphis has won all nine of its meetings with East Carolina...The Tigers won despite hitting just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc and turning the ball over 20 times...Young committed a game-high eight turnovers...Memphis plays at SMU and the Pirates host UAB on Wednesday.
- EAST CAROLINA: 58
Jan 8 6:16 PM
- EAST CAROLINA: 21
Jan 8 4:58 PM
- EAST CAROLINA: 0
1st Half - 20:00
Jan 8 4:08 PM
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