Evans has strong debut in win for MemphisNov 16, 2008 - 6:25 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- It did not take Memphis long to find an impact freshman.
Tyreke Evans scored 19 points in his debut as the 12th-ranked Tigers pulled away late in the first half for a 90-63 victory over Fairfield in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Saturday.
A candidate to be one of the top freshmen in the country, the 6-6 Evans scored 11 points in the opening half, including five points in the closing 2:46 as Memphis opened up a 45-30 advantage at intermission.
Coming off the bench, the Pennsylvania native finished 7-of-12 from the field, grabbed five rebounds and handed out three assists.
"Tyreke did great stuff today when he drove the ball," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "He got to the foul line. He's strong and limber and he moves. He did some good stuff, but he's got a long way to go.
It was a debut much in the vein of last year's stellar freshman for Memphis, Derrick Rose, who had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in a 102-71 win over Tennessee-Martin.
Shawn Taggert and Doneal Mack had 14 points apiece for Memphis (1-0), which will be aiming for another big season after winning a school-record 38 games last campaign en route to finishing as the national runner-up vs. Kansas.
A key reserve on last year's team, the junior Taggert also grabbed 12 rebounds for the Tigers, who finished with a 32-20 advantage on the boards.
Memphis also had an impressive showing at the free-throw line, making 80 percent (24-of-30) of its attempts. Last season, it was 61 percent from the stripe.
"We shot 80 percent from the line," Calipari said. "It's nice to know when you get fouled - and we will be a team that gets fouled - that we can go to the line and make free throws. When you add eight points to a game, instead of having 82 you have 90 and you have a gap that gets you something."
The Tigers will next face Massachusetts on Monday before returning to the preseason tournament with a quarterfinal matchup with Chattanooga on November 20.
Warren Edney scored 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting for the Stags (0-1).
Considered one of the top teams in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference, Fairfield struggled with the full-court press of Memphis, committing 26 turnovers.
"First off, I thought our lack of alertness to the ball was a big reason we turned the ball over a lot tonight," Fairfield coach Ed Cooley said. "Yet, I think their athleticism bothered us. But when we look at some of our turnovers, it was more us than it was them, if you ask me. I thought our players just didn't come to the ball."
Senior guard Jonathan Han was the worst culprit, committing 12 miscues to all but negate the 18 points he scored.
- PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
NCAA BB PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
FAIRFIELD 30 33 63
MEMPHIS (12) 45 45 90 FINAL
Nov 15 10:07 PM
- PUERTO RICO TIP-OFF
NCAA BB FAIRFIELD 30
(12) MEMPHIS 45 HALFTIME
Nov 15 8:53 PM
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