Memphis claims C-USA title; Marshall's run comes to an endMar 10, 2012 - 10:06 PM Memphis, TN (Sports Network) - Memphis defended its 2011 Conference USA Tournament title with an 83-57 blowout of surprise finalist Marshall on Saturday.
Joe Jackson led all scorers with 19 points while handing out six assists and Will Barton contributed a double-double of 18 points and 13 rebounds for the top-seeded Tigers (26-8), who have won a record six of the last seven C-USA championships.
"We played our butts off today. We played good defense on them and made them take a lot of bad shots," said Jackson. "It was hard for them to get easy shots."
Five Memphis players scored in double figures, including Wesley Witherspoon's 11 points and 10 apiece for Ferrakohn Hall and Chris Crawford. The Tigers shot 59.1 percent (26-of-44) from the field.
DeAndre Kane paced the sixth-seeded Thundering Herd (21-13) with 16 points and Damier Pitts added 12. A stunning run in which the unheralded Herd knocked off second seed Southern Miss and third seed Tulsa came to an end.
"Our kids did something that has not been done at Marshall and that's get to a championship game and I'm proud," said Marshall head coach Tom Herrion. "I'm disappointed with the loss, but I'm proud of this group for what they've done this week in particular and now we'll look forward to playing again."
Memphis took an early 8-4 lead on a couple of fastbreak shots and never looked back, using a 21-3 run midway through the first half to take a 45-27 advantage into intermission.
After the Tigers expanded their lead to 19 early in the second half, Marshall, the first six seed to advance to the C-USA Tournament final in conference history, attempted to make its third comeback of the tourney, embarking on a 7-2 spurt to make it 52-39.
But the Herd's momentum stalled there, as a barrage of three-pointers and an alley-oop dunk from Memphis put them away for good.
The Tigers shot 50 percent from beyond the arc overall and netted 25-of-27 attempts from the free-throw line.
Kane left late in the second half with an unspecified lower back injury...Memphis's Tarik Black left the game with a bruised right forearm early in the second half. He finished with eight points...Memphis won its three C-USA tourney games by an average of 25 points...Marshall was held to 35.5 percent (22-of-62) shooting from the field.
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