The U of M salvaged a win in its final game at the Battle 4 Atlantis this afternoon and, in doing so, avoided the program's first three-game losing streak in seven years. Junior guard Chris Crawford emerged from an early-season funk with his first career double-double: 18 points and a career-high 12 rebounds. Crawford started the game at point guard for the Tigers, with Joe Jackson shifted to shooting guard by coach Josh Pastner.
The Tigers trailed early and needed a 10-0 run before halftime to close a 14-point deficit to four (26-22). A Crawford layup gave Memphis the lead, 33-32, with 11 minutes to play. Three-point plays by Adonis Thomas and Jackson extended the Tiger lead to seven points inside the game's final two minutes and the Panthers were unable to get closer before the final buzzer. Jackson scored 15 points for the game.
Junior transfer Geron Johnson saw his most significant playing time since returning from a three-game suspension to open the season. Johnson missed all six of his field-goal attempts, but grabbed four rebounds, dished out five assists, and helped put the clamps defensively on Panther sharpshooter Deon Mitchell. Mitchell was the only UNI player to score in double figures (18 points).
For the second straight year, Memphis (3-2) will return from a tropical tournament bounced from the Top 20 and facing a steep climb to an attractive seed in the NCAA tournament. The Tigers next take the floor Thursday night at FedExForum when UT-Martin comes to town. That game will be followed by six straight home games in December, including a tilt with second-ranked Louisville on December 15th.