Senior point guard Shyrone Chatman had a double-double and the University of Memphis started the second half with a 16-2 run on its way to a 90-65 win over UTEP Tuesday night in the second round of the NIT. Chatman scored 12 points, had 10 assists, and no turnovers in leading the Tigers (19-14) to the win before 14,101 at The Pyramid. Memphis will host New Mexico Thursday in the quarterfinals. The winner goes to the NIT final four at Madison Square Garden.
This was a very good win for this program. I loved our intensity and our defense, coach John Calipari said after the game. The things I always try to get my teams to do is play their best basketball in March.
Earl Barron also logged a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds, as Memphis put five players in double figures. Senior Marcus Moody led all scorers with 17. Kelly Wise added 16 and freshman Scooter McFadgon had 13. Memphis shot 47 percent from the field, had 21 assists, and only 11 turnovers in the game. The Tigers led 42-29 at halftime.
That was a good team. They beat a lot of people; won a lot of ball games, Calipari said of the Miners, who were 23-8 entering the contest. We got after them. We took them out of a lot of things they wanted to do.
Moody broke Mingo Johnsons career three-point mark when he hit his 154th trey midway through the second half. Calipari did not know about it until informed by reporters after the game. Thats terrific. Im happy. It was one of his better efforts, the coach said.
Calipari thanked the crowd for their support. We had 14,000. The Commercial Appeal was probably at the gate counting each person as they came in, so its a legitimate count, Calipari said, taking a jab at the daily papers insistence on giving the turnstile attendance at every game instead of just reporting the number of tickets sold.
Junior John Grice saw his first action since being suspended in December.
This is not all about basketball why hes not playing, Calipari said. But I wanted to give him an opportunity because he has done some good things in the last two weeks.
With one more win the Tigers will hit the 20-win mark for the first time since 1996. They also will gain a trip to the Big Apple. The players and coaches have made the latter a goal in part because senior Shamel Jones is from Brooklyn.
Tickets go on sale Wednesday at 8 a.m. at the U of M's athletic ticket office. The Tiger ticket office will be open until 6 p.m. Wednesday and will be open on Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets go on sale Wednesday at 12 p.m. at The Pyramid.
The Lobos came from behind to beat Pepperdine 81-75 in front of 16,278. It was the second straight home game for New Mexico in the NIT.