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All-around effort keys Memphis comeback


Tigers rally to seal the deal against South Florida MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The Memphis Tigers erased a 12-point deficit with 10:42 to play and earned a 58-57 win over USF Tuesday night at FedExForum.

Lester Quinones hit a 3pointer with 1:08 to go to give the Tigers (6-4, 2-1 AAC) a 58-55 lead, and after a USF layup Memphis locked down on the final possession and sealed the victory on a D.J. Jeffries blocked shot.

Quinones finished with a team-high 13 points on 5of-7 shooting. DeAndre Williams had 12 points and a career-high five steals, and Landers Nolley II added 10 points, three assists, and two steals.

Alex Lomax was a spark plug on the defensive end and facilitated the offense for much of the game, finishing with five points, three assists, three steals, a blocked shot, and two rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench.

The Bulls (5-4, 1-2 AAC) were led by Caleb Murphy's 20 points.

Right out of the gate, Memphis' first nine field goals of the game were scored by nine different players, and the Tigers led 19-11 just under 12:00 gone by in the game. USF went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 21, and it extended to 11-straight points by the Bulls while the Tigers missed seven-consecutive shots.

Boogie Ellis and Quinones hit back-to-back-shots to end the half, and Memphis took a 25-23 lead into the halftime locker room.

Memphis shot 48.0 percent in the first half (12-25) and limited USF to 31.0 percent shooting (9-29).

Memphis had eight assists on its 12 first-half baskets.

The Tigers led 30-25 after a Williams jumper, a Quinones free throw, and a Nolley II layup, but USF scored the next 10 points and 14 of the next 16 to open a 39-32 advantage.

USF extended the lead to 12 points, 46-34, with 10:42 to go, but from there, the Tigers began to chip away. A quick 6-0 burst, including a Lomax steal, a fastbreak layup, and an assist on a Nolley II 3pointer, made it 46-40, and the Tigers rattled off 11straight points to turn a 48-40 deficit into a 51-48 lead. During the 11-0 stretch, Lomax had two steals and assisted on two Williams buckets, and Williams added three steals and a block. The run was capped by a Quinones triple.

That set up the exciting finish, with Memphis coming up big time and time again to pick up the victory.

Memphis forced 17 USF turnovers, which led to 25 points.

The Tigers shot 45.3 percent for the game (24-53).

Postgame Notes

• Memphis used the starting lineup of Lester Quinones, Landers Nolley II, D.J. Jeffries, DeAndre Williams, and Moussa Cisse for the secondstraight game.

• When it was also used in the Tulsa game (Dec. 21), is became the fifth different starting lineup for the Tigers in their first nine games.

• Memphis is now 28-7 alltime against the Bulls. That includes a 14-3 advantage in Memphis.

• Memphis has allowed just 56 and 57 points in its last two games.

• The Tigers have held 17straight opponents to 75 or fewer points, dating back to a 92-86 overtime loss at Cincinnati on Feb. 13, 2020.

• The Tigers' 45.3 percent shooting is their best since shooting 48.1 percent against Mississippi Valley State on Dec. 8.

• Memphis' 14 steals are its most since having 17 against Central Arkansas on Dec. 4.

• Memphis had 25 points off turnovers against USF, the most since 27 against the Bears.

• The Tigers had four field goals by the first media timeout of the first half and six – by six different players – by the second media timeout. That came on the heels of only making five field goals in the entire second half of the game against Tulsa.

• The Tigers had 18 points in the paint in the entire Tulsa game.

• Alex Lomax finished with a season-high-tying three steals (3, Mississippi Valley State, 12/8/20). Lomax seems to have USF's number, as his career high of five swipes came against USF on Jan. 12, 2020.

• Williams' previous career high in steals was three against Tulsa in Memphis' last outing (Dec. 21).

Williams has scored in double figures in all three of his games for Memphis since becoming eligible prior to the game at Tulane on Dec. 16.

• Quinones has now led Memphis in scoring twice this season and six times in his career.

• Memphis has still only lost multiple conference games in a row under head coach Penny Hardaway four times.

Up Next

Up next for Memphis is a contest at Temple Saturday at 11 a.m. CT and a Tuesday, Jan. 5 game at UCF at 8 p.m. CT. Both games will be televised on ESPNU. The Tigers are the only AAC school with just two home games in January. Those are Jan. 14 against SMU and Jan. 21 against Wichita State.

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