Tigers get first win on Canadian Exhibition Tour

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OTTAWA, Ontario – University of Memphis sophomore Nick King scored a team-high 25 points to lead five Tigers in double figures and lift the visitors to a 104-89 exhibition-game victory over the University of Ottawa at Montpetit Hall Sunday.
The loss was Ottawa’s first in its NCAA preseason schedule. The Gee-Gees had already defeated Indiana 109-101, Vermont 73-66 and UIC 79-76. Sunday’s contest versus Memphis was Ottawa’s final contest in its NCAA preseason schedule.

Kuran Iverson (18 points), Shaq Goodwin (16), Chris Hawkins (14) and Avery Woodson (11) also netted double digits in the scoring column. King and Dominic Magee each grabbed a team-high seven rebounds, while Iverson and Markel Crawford each dished out five assists.

Ottawa’s Johnny Berhanemeskel led all scorers with a game-high 33 points. Mike L’Africain added 20 points and six assists. Caleb Agada was the Gee-Gees’ only other double-figure scorer with 10 points. L’Africain led Ottawa on the glass with four boards.

The Gee-Gees held a 53-47 lead at the break, but the Tigers opened the third period with a 21-5 run to take a 68-58 lead with 3:39 left. Woodson spurred the run with eight points, including back-to-back three-pointers, and Magee hit two free throws with 6:49 on the clock to give Memphis the lead for good at 59-58. Iverson finished the spurt with consecutive layups for the 10-point advantage.

Memphis extended its lead to 15 points by the end of the third quarter. King hit three-straight baskets, and Pookie Powell added a trey in the final 2:18 of the third period for the 81-66 lead.

In the final period, Ottawa cut the Tigers’ lead to 10 points on two occasions, but the Gee-Gees did not get closer. Memphis was 8-of-8 from the free throw line in the final seven minutes to keep the Gee-Gees at a distance.

While the offense was clicking, the Tigers also turned up their defensive pressure in the second half for a second-consecutive game. Memphis held Ottawa to 29.4 percent shooting from the floor and 31.4 percent from the arc in the game’s final two periods. The Tigers also dominated Ottawa on the boards in the second half with a 25-11 advantage.

In the first half, Memphis was able to keep within striking distance despite Ottawa’s hot shooting from the perimeter. The Gee-Gees shot 57.6 percent from the field and 63.2 percent from the arc (12-of-19). Ottawa even stayed close in the rebounding department, as the Tigers held a narrow 14-12 advantage on the glass in the first half.
Memphis, however, trailed only 41-37 with 5:51 left before half. Over the next 2:32, Ottawa put together a 12-0 run to build its largest lead at 53-37. The Gee-Gees’ run was fueled by four-straight three-pointers, including two from Berhanemeskel.
The Tigers, though, closed the second period with a 10-0 spurt to cut the Ottawa lead to 53-47 at the break. Iverson hit three-straight baskets, and King added the final two points in the run.

Memphis plays the third game of its Canadian exhibition tour Monday at McGill University in Montreal. Game time is 6 p.m. (CT).