Tigers-Vols finale(?) better for Memphis
Posted: Monday, January 7, 2013 7:00 pm
By STEVE MEGARGEE
AP Sports Writer
KNOXVILLE (AP) — If this actually was the last Memphis-Tennessee game for quite some time, both teams made it one to remember.
Joe Jackson scored 20 points and had seven assists Friday night as Memphis built a 21-point lead before hanging on for an 85-80 victory over Tennessee to snap the Volunteers’ four-game winning streak.
After trailing 60-39 with 14 minutes left, Tennessee got the lead all the way down to four in the final minute.
Memphis beat Tennessee for the third straight time to match its longest winning streak in the history of this rivalry, whose future remains in question. Memphis also won three straight over Tennessee from 1993-95.
“I don’t think it was really about bragging rights,” Jackson said. “It’s just a very good win. Memphis and Tennessee, that’s a good rivalry game. If you play for Memphis or play for Tennessee, you want to win those games. It’s a feel-good game.”
Adonis Thomas scored 18 points and Geron Johnson added 16 for Memphis (10-3), which survived its first true road contest to win for the eighth time in its last nine games. Jordan McRae scored a career-high 26 points and Josh Richardson added a career-high 20 for Tennessee (8-4).
The contract for this series runs out at the end of the season. Memphis athletic director Tom Bowen and Tennessee athletic director Dave Hart are discussing the possibility of adding future games between the two schools in men’s basketball as well as other sports.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner said earlier this week he didn’t want to continue playing the Vols, but he indicated Thursday night that he and Bowen would re-evaluate the subject once the current contract expires.
“It’s a good way to end the week,” Pastner said after the game. “The good thing is you’re talking about Tiger basketball and there’s no serious controversy that can’t be managed. This can all be managed, I promise. … It’s not that big a deal in the long run.”
The 19,535 fans at Thompson-Boling Arena showered Pastner with boos when his name was announced during pregame introductions.
That crowd — the most vocal of the season thus far — included new Tennessee football coach Butch Jones and former Jim Thorpe Award-winning defensive back Eric Berry. But the Vols wouldn’t give them much reason to cheer for much of the night.
Memphis shot 56.4 percent (31-of-55) against a Tennessee defense that hadn’t allowed any of its previous opponents to make over half their shots. The Tigers also shot 63.6 percent (7-of-11) from 3-point range against the Vols, who were ranked sixth nationally in 3-point percentage defense (.250).
Tennessee hadn’t allowed any of its first 11 opponents to score as many as 70 points.
“We didn’t expect them to shoot as well as they did,” said Tennessee forward and Memphis native Jarnell Stokes, who had 11 points and nine rebounds. “Their percentages didn’t match up to how they played today. Their season percentages, player by player, they shot five times better than they usually shoot.”
Tenn. 79, Georgia 66 (W)
KNOXVILLE (AP) — Bashaara Graves scored a career-high 23 points and Tennessee rallied in the second half to beat Georgia, giving the Lady Vols their fifth consecutive victory in this series.
After trailing 42-40 at halftime, Tennessee (11-3, 2-0 SEC) scored the first nine points of the second half and stayed in front the rest of the way.
Meighan Simmons added 16 points for Tennessee, while Jasmine Jones scored a career-high 12 points to go along with seven rebounds. Taber Spani had 11 points and seven rebounds.
Jasmine James scored 18 points and Khaalidah Miller had 14 for Georgia (13-2, 1-1 SEC).
Published in The Messenger 1.7.13