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Memphis pulls away in second half, defeats East Carolina

Jan 21, 2007 - 7:01 AM GREENVILLE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- Memphis took awhile to get started but displayed its dominance in the second half.

Jeremy Hunt scored 16 points and freshman Doneal Mack added 15 to lead the No. 18 Tigers to a 61-44 Conference USA victory over East Carolina.

Despite playing without leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts because of a right ankle sprain, Memphis collected its seventh straight victory.

Hunt and Mack combined for 16 points during a decisive 23-4 run that built a 49-32 lead with 10:04 left to play as the Tigers (15-3, 5-0 C-USA) pulled away for good.

"They came out with some more pressure (in the second half), and it made us go a little faster," East Carolina coach Ricky Stokes said. "Memphis is really good, well coached and very talented, and we were able to play with them for a while."

Robert Dozier collected 12 points and 10 rebounds for Memphis, which shot just 31 percent (17-of-55), including a dismal 4-of-23 from 3-point range.

The Tigers jumped out to an 11-4 advantage on Hunt's 3-pointer with 15:34 remaining in the first half. East Carolina answered with an 11-2 run, capped by John Fields' jumper with 6:57 left, to pull ahead, 15-13. The teams were knotted at 21-21 at the break.

"It was a hard-fought game," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "I don't know what it is, but every time we come here it is a war. My hat's off to Ricky (Stokes) to have his team this ready to play after a few tough losses. They were just a few shots away from being up by 10 at the half."

Fields scored 14 points for the Pirates (5-12, 0-4), who shot 36 percent (17-of-47) from the floor.

"Fields was outhustling us and getting second shots; he was good," Calipari said. "They showed no fear. The hard part for coaches is getting players to not only play this intense against big schools, but to go out and play against the other teams, too. They went zone and we went tentative. In the second half we were more aggressive."