MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Lester Quinones scored 16 points, Damion Baugh finished with 15 and No. 9 Memphis weathered a second-half rally and beat Tulane 84-73 on Monday night in the teams’ American Athletic Conference opener.
Precious Achiuwa finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds as Memphis (12-1, 1-0 AAC) won its 10th straight.
K.J. Lawson, who played two seasons at Memphis, led Tulane with 22 points. Christion Thompson added 17. Jordan Walker finished with 13, including nine straight points as Tulane (8-5, 0-1) tried to rally down the stretch.
Memphis held a double-digit lead with seven minutes left, but Tulane, behind Lawson and Walker, chipped away. The Green Wave got within 74-71 with 3:33 left and trailed 77-73 with 2:37 left.
But Memphis scored the game’s final seven points.
It took a bit for Memphis to get untracked, as the Tigers missed seven of their first eight shots.
While that allowed the Green Wave to build an early double-digit advantage, the Tigers closed the half with 13 straight points, part of a 17-2 run for a 40-30 lead at intermission. The Green Wave failed to score in the final 4:50 of the half.
Tulane: This was a much better Tulane team than the one that was winless last season in AAC play. Using graduate transfers such as Lawson, the Green Wave made the game competitive and only their failure to score in the closing minutes of each half stymied their chances.
Memphis: The Tigers were able to cut down on the turnovers that plagued them the last two games. Memphis had only 12 miscues, about half of what it committed in its previous two wins. Shooting 54% for the game helped Memphis maintain its advantage as Tulane made a late run.
Tulane: Hosts Cincinnati on Saturday.
Memphis: Hosts Georgia on Saturday.