Thursday, February 23, 2017

#15 Cincinnati 87, Tigers 74

Posted By on Thu, Feb 23, 2017 at 8:06 PM

Say what you will about Josh Pastner's seven years as coach of the Memphis Tigers, but his teams avoided losing streaks. In falling to the 15th-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats Thursday night in Ohio, the Tigers lost their third straight game, the first such streak since March of 2005 (John Calipari's fifth season at the helm). Not that long ago 17-6, Memphis fell to 18-10 and are now just a game over .500 (8-7) in American Athletic Conference play.
click to enlarge 1019_cincinnati_bearcats-misc-2006.png

In winning their 25th consecutive home game, the Bearcats improved to 25-3 and remain in contention (with SMU) for the AAC title with a 14-1 mark.

Cincinnati dominated early, hitting 16 of its first 24 shots to take a 19-point lead (51-32) at halftime. The Bearcats led by 17 with just under 12 minutes to play before the Tigers found a groove of sorts. Spurred by sophomores Dedric Lawson (21 points, 10 rebounds) and Jeremiah Martin (23 points, 11 assists), the Tigers enjoyed a 20-9 stretch and closed Cincinnati's lead to six points (75-69) on a three-point play by Martin with 5:17 left on the clock. But the Bearcats scored the game's next eight points to pull away for good.

The Tigers outshot Cincinnati from the field (54 percent to 49 percent), but the bigger, more aggressive Bearcats got to the foul line 28 times and made 23 free throws, while Memphis was only 8 for 12 from the charity stripe.

Kyle Washington led Cincinnati with 16 points and Jacob Evans added 15.

K.J. Lawson scored 15 for the Tigers while Jimario Rivers added 12. Senior center Chad Rykhoek returned to action for Memphis after missing 16 games with a dislocated ankle. Junior Markel Crawford, the team's second-leading scorer, did not score in the game and was limited by three fouls.


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