MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Memphis shot 51 percent and scored 83
points and all everybody wanted to talk about was the Tigers'
defensive performance Wednesday night.
Memphis (No. 23 ESPN/USA Today, No. 20 AP) held TCU to 33 percent shooting and forced 19
turnovers in an 83-56 victory.
"I was really, really pleased with our first-half defense,"
Memphis coach John Calipari said. "I just thought it was as good
as we have played all year. ... We just mauled them."
Sean Banks scored 25 points to lead Memphis, which moved into
first place in Conference USA .
The Tigers (21-5, 12-3) took a half-game lead over No. 13
Cincinnati, which plays DePaul on Thursday night. The Tigers have
won 12 of their last 13, the only loss in the string coming last
Saturday at No. 25 Louisville.
The Horned Frogs (11-15, 7-8) lost for the fourth time in six
In addition to being senior night, the game was probably the
last for the Tigers in The Pyramid, Memphis' home since 1991. Next
season, Memphis is expected to move to the new $250 million
FedExForum, the future home of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies,
currently under construction.
Banks was 8-of-13 from the field, including 6-of-8 from 3-point
range. Rodney Carney was 7-for-14 from the field and added 22
points for the Tigers. Point guard Antonio Burks, playing in his
last home game, added 12 points and eight assists.
Memphis benefited from poor shooting early by TCU, then closed
the half with an 18-7 run to take a 33-18 lead.
"It was pretty frustrating that we didn't handle their
defensive pressure very well," TCU guard Marcus Shropshire said.
"We took some bad shots because of their defense."
The Horned Frogs missed 12 of their first 13 shots, and already
were down by double figures with 11 minutes left in the half. TCU
put together a short rally to reduce the deficit to 15-11 before
TCU shot 23 percent in the first half and committed 12
"Memphis defended as well as I have seen them defend," TCU
coach Neil Dougherty said. "It took us awhile to even settle down
and make a catch, let alone to get into anything. That was directly
related to their pressure defense."
The Horned Frogs made a small push to start the second half, but
Memphis maintained its double-digit lead through much of the rally.
Then the Tigers poured on the points. Led by Carney, who had
seven straight, Memphis built the lead to 59-35 with 9:42 left.
From there, the lead did not drop below 18 the rest of the way.
"I had a driver's mentality," Carney said. "I wanted to
drive. I knew if I could drive and get people shots or drive and
score easy layups, that would open up the game."
But like everyone else, Carney credited the defensive pressure
after halftime as the reason for the runaway victory.
"We just locked down on D, and didn't allow them to get a
run," Carney said. "Once we did that, they were out of the