Make us your home page

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

USF loses AAC opener 88-73 to No. 18 Memphis

TAMPA — The Memphis Tigers spent the better part of their New Year's Eve doing everything except dropping the ball.

Instead, they drained it, drove it, dunked it and ripped it off the glass relentlessly, all at USF's expense.

The shorthanded Bulls' formal inauguration into American Athletic Conference play was more like a harsh initiation. Outplayed in virtually every facet by the Tigers (10-2), USF fell behind early and never regrouped in an 88-73 defeat at the Sun Dome.

The win was the Tigers' sixth in a row in the series, and 19th in 22 meetings against the Bulls (9-4), who might have been hard-pressed to match Memphis' athleticism with a full squad.

As it stood, Bulls starting point guard Anthony Collins (knee tendinitis) and key reserve Javontae Hawkins (hip pointer) watched from the bench in warmups.

What they observed was a veritable clinic conducted by the nation's 18th-ranked team, and a determined, dunk-filled effort by 6-foot-10 Bulls freshman John Egbunu (20 points, 14 rebounds), who helped spark a 30-16 Bulls run to end things.

The Tigers finished with a 39-34 rebounding advantage (24-13 in the first half) and scored 47 in the paint to the Bulls' 38. Twenty-six minutes into the game, Memphis had more dunks (six) than USF had assists (five).

The most deflating: guard Joe Jackson's coast-to-coast slam at the first-half buzzer off a simple inbounds pass, giving the guests a 48-32 lead at intermission.

Not that Memphis didn't wreak damage away from the rim.

The American's second-worst 3-point shooting team (29.5 percent) entering the game, Memphis sank three in the first 12 minutes, including 6-foot-9 sophomore Shaq Goodwin's first of the season during a 9-0 Tigers run.

The Tigers finished 8-of-19 from behind the line. USF, the only conference team worse from long range, missed all nine of its tries.

But even as the Bulls clanged in a new year, Egbunu scrapped and slammed underneath. Senior Victor Rudd, meantime, nearly notched his fourth double double (17 points, nine rebounds).

Egbunu's double double was his second of the season, the first coming only eight days earlier. His point and rebound totals both were season highs, as were his six dunks.

Geron Johnson had 19 points and Jackson and Michael Dixon Jr. added 18 each for Memphis. Jackson had 14 points and Dixon 10 in the first half.

Memphis has won its past 10 conference openers.

Information from Times wires was used in this report.

USF loses AAC opener 88-73 to No. 18 Memphis 12/31/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 10:23pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Joe Maddon gets warm reception in return to the Trop

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — The night was arranged to honor former Rays manager Joe Maddon in his first visit back to the Trop, and the standing ovation from the bipartisan crowd and scoreboard video tribute seemed proper acknowledgments of his hefty role in the Rays' success during his nine-year stint.

    Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon (70) talks with reporters during a press conference before the start of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017.
  2. Rays vs. Cubs, 7:10 p.m. Wednesday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Cubs

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM; 680-AM (Spanish)

    Tampa Bay Rays' Blake Snell poses for a picture during the team's photo day at baseball spring training in Port Charlotte, Fla., Saturday, Feb. 18, 2017. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
  3. Marc Topkin's takeaways from Tuesday's Rays-Cubs game

    The Heater

    Chris Archer's night ended with his 11th loss, but he and the Rays should feel good about his six solid innings. After the forearm tightness scare in Chicago, he had two rough outings (15 hits, 11 runs, seven innings), so Tuesday was a reassuring rebound.

  4. At 6-8, Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov comes with, and needs, a high ceiling

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — When Hall of Famer Phil Esposito first saw Lightning prospect Oleg Sosunov, he joked that the 6-foot-8 defenseman could reach the Amalie Arena ceiling.

    Lightning 6-foot-8 defenseman Oleg Sosunov competes in the preseason opener. Phil Esposito jokes that Sosunov can reach the ceiling at Amalie Arena.
  5. Jones: Rays' Kevin Cash doesn't mind following in Joe Maddon's steps

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — On this particular night, he's the other guy. He's like a talk-show guest scooted to the end of the couch. He is Kevin Cash. And the Rays manager is standing in the home dugout at Tropicana Field.

    ST. PETERSBURG, FL - SEPTEMBER 17: Manager Kevin Cash (L) of the Tampa Bay Rays reacts to action during the game against the Boston Red Sox at Tropicana Field on September 17, 2017 in St. Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Joseph Garnett Jr./Getty Images) 700012494