Tigers Overcome Struggles To Get 20th Win

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Piscataway, NJ-22nd ranked Memphis held off a late rally by Rutgers to record a 64-59 victory Thursday night at the Rutgers Athletic Center.

Michael Dixon Jr. led the Tigers with 15 points off the bench, while Joe Jackson added 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. Posts Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols also notched double figures with 10 points apiece.

Kadeem Jack had a team-high 22 points and 10 boards for Rutgers, while Myles Mack and Malick Kone each posted 10 points.

Memphis jumped out to a quick 12-2 advantage by the first media timeout with five points coming from Geron Johnson and a three-pointer by Chris Crawford. Rutgers began to trim away at their deficit as J.J. Moore hit from behind the arc before Wally Judge added a basket to pull the Scarlet Knights within five at 14-9 with 11:51 to play.

Jackson stretched the Tigers’ lead back to double digits near the eight-minute mark with layup to make it 22-11. Both teams would go cold from the floor over the next few minutes before Rutgers started to get back in the game. Mack connected on a three while a layup by Kone brought Rutgers within 24-21 with 2:21 remaining in the half.

The Tigers held Rutgers scoreless the rest of the period to go into the locker room with a 28-21 advantage.

Memphis pushed its lead back to double figures right out of halftime with baskets from Jackson and Nichols for a 32-21 score. The Scarlet Knights kept within striking distance as teams traded baskets until a layup by Jack at the 13:57 mark made it a 36-31 contest.

On the next possession, Dixon Jr. hit from downtown to give Memphis some comfort at 39-31. After Rutgers cut it to six, baskets from Nick King and Nichols extended the Tigers’ lead to 47-37 midway through the half.

Jack pulled the Scarlet Knights closer with back-to-back buckets just under the seven-minute mark to make it a six-point game at 51-45. After a layup by Nichols that gave Memphis a 53-46 lead, the Tigers would be without a field goal for more than four minutes as Rutgers made it 53-49 after another basket from Jack with 3:45 to play.

Dixon Jr. connected on his second triple of the night with a basket at 1:16 to push Memphis’ lead to 59-51. A three by Kone with 26 seconds left brought Rutgers within five before a missed one-and-one at the line by Memphis helped the Scarlet Knights pull closer. Myles added a three-pointer with four seconds left in the game for a 62-59 score, but Johnson would knock down both free throws to give Memphis the 64-59 win.

The Tigers (20-6, 9-4)  return to FedExForum on Saturday when they host Temple in an 8:30 p.m. (CT) contest that will be televised on ESPNU.