Tigers Knock Off Oral Roberts

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – The University of Memphis men’s basketball team (8-3) recorded a season-high nine blocks and held Oral Roberts (5-7) to 37 percent from the floor as the Tigers earned a 72-57 win over the Golden Eagles on Friday night at FedExForum.

After Memphis jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the opening minutes, the Golden Eagles answered with an 11-4 run to take a 13-10 lead with just under 12 minutes to go in the half.

The Tigers offense lit up after the second media timeout with a 12-2 run over a four-minute stretch. Damien Wilson got Memphis going with two free throws followed by a layup by Shaq Goodwin and a bucket from Wilson. Joe Jackson then knocked down a basket from outside to increase Memphis’ lead to 19-13 before ORU ended a three-minute drought with a bucket from Mikey Manghum.

Barton helped the Tigers continue to distance themselves with a trey to make the score 22-15 with 7:44 left in the half. Barton added six points during a Memphis 8-0 with another bucket from behind the arc and three points from the charity stripe to put the score at 30-19 Memphis with four minutes to play.

Memphis would reach its largest lead of the half of 13 at the 3:47 mark after a layup by Geron Johnson. ORU cut the Memphis lead to nine before the Tigers ended the half by outscoring the Golden Eagles 4-1 to go into the half up 38-26. Barton led the Tigers at the break with 11 points while Jackson chipped in eight, including 2-of-2 from three.

The teams traded baskets to begin the second half with Memphis holding a 50-40 advantage with 13 minutes to play. The Tigers then began a 7-0 run over the next two minutes to open up a 57-40 lead as Wilson converted a three-point play in the paint and Barton notched a season-high 15 points off two free throws and a drive to the basket.

ORU ended a three-minute drought with a jumper from Shawn Glover before Damen Bell-Holter added a put-back to bring the Golden Eagles’ deficit down to 13 midway through the half.

Memphis followed with a 6-0 run with dunks from Johnson and D.J. Stephens and a layup from Chris Crawford to make it 63-44 with seven minutes to go. ORU responded with a 6-0 spurt of its own to bring it to 63-50 before an alley-oop from Barton to Stephens ended the Golden Eagles’ run.

ORU continued to chip away the Memphis lead, getting within 10 at 66-56 with three minutes to go. However, the Golden Eagles would only get one more point in the final minutes as Memphis picked up a 72-57 win.

Barton finished with a season-high 17 points to lead the Tigers while Jackson also hit double figures with 13. Stephens finished with career-highs in rebounds (14) and blocks (5) to lead the Tigers.

Memphis will close out its seven-game homestand Sunday with a 7 p.m. contest against Loyola (MD) at FedExForum.