(3) Memphis 91

(22-2, 8-0 C-USA)

Marshall 81

(9-13, 2-7 C-USA)

    4:00 PM ET, February 11, 2006

    Henderson Center, Huntington, West Virginia

    1 2 T
    #3MEM 43 4891
    MRSH 44 3781

    Top Performers

    Memphis: R. Dozier 13 Pts, 15 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Marshall: M. Humphrey 19 Pts, 5 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl

    No. 3 Memphis pulls away late against game Marshall

    HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (AP) -- When Memphis saw Marshall knife through its trapping defense for numerous layups in the first half, the third-ranked Tigers wisely backed off and avoided an upset loss.

    Darius Washington scored seven of his 20 points during a 17-0 second-half run and Memphis beat the Thundering Herd 91-81 on Saturday.

    "If we pressed them, we were losing this game," Memphis coach John Calipari said.

    Marshall, which twice led by 11 points in the first half, wished Memphis had kept the pressure on.

    "Once you solve something, it gets harder to solve the next thing," Marshall coach Ron Jirsa said. "The second half, when we didn't push it up the floor, that hurt us."

    Memphis (22-2, 8-0 Conference USA) won its 11th straight game and remained unbeaten on the road. The Tigers are one win shy of tying the 1985-86 team for the best start in school history.

    "We just came out and [increased] the intensity and made them play our game," Washington said. "We didn't get rattled. We just kept our pace and wanted to come back."

    Markel Humphrey had a career-high 19 points for Marshall (9-13, 2-7). Mark Patton, the Thundering Herd's leading scorer, sat out much of the game with foul trouble and finished with 13 points, all in the second half.

    Washington had 13 of Memphis' first 15 points in the second half as the Tigers took their first lead since midway through the first half.

    "We needed easy buckets and he got them," said Memphis' Rodney Carney, who also had 20 points. "He threw the ball to me on a couple dunks and got us started. That's how we got the rout."

    Carney's dunk capped the decisive run for a 68-54 lead with 12:47 remaining.

    Marshall went more than 5 minutes without a field goal and never recovered as Memphis shot 58 percent from the field in the second half.

    Marshall and Memphis had not met since December 1953. Memphis joined 1961 national champion Cincinnati as the highest-ranked opponent to play in Huntington.

    Marshall has struggled in its debut season in Conference USA. A week ago, Marshall scored just 36 points -- the lowest in 58 years -- in a loss at Tulane.

    But the Thundering Herd have challenged ranked opponents this season, beating West Virginia in Charleston and losing in overtime at home to George Washington.

    Jirsa had appealed to his players to play with heart against Memphis. They did, shooting 55 percent in the first half.

    The first sellout crowd at Marshall since Dec. 12, 1987, saw the Thundering Herd carve through Memphis' press and take a 37-26 lead with 6:27 left in the first half.

    "Ron Jirsa should get coach of the year for what he did," Calipari said. "That press has been creating 15, 20 turnovers a game."

    By late in the half, the intensity took its toll on Marshall, whose tired players had their hands on their knees, and the mistakes soon followed.

    "I think we are certainly playing hard enough, but we aren't doing it over the entire game. That's the next thing," Jirsa said.

    Six Memphis players scored during a 14-4 run to close the half and the Tigers trailed 44-43. The 44 points were the second-most scored against Memphis in the first half this season.

    Memphis' Robert Dozier finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds and Shawne Williams scored 12 points.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 91 81
    FG Made-Attempted 31-63 (.492) 28-58 (.483)
    3P Made-Attempted 8-19 (.421) 6-20 (.300)
    FT Made-Attempted 21-28 (.750) 19-30 (.633)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 20 (0/0) 25 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 19 11

    2005-06 Season

    » Feb 11, 2006 MEM 91, @MRSH 81Recap