Mar 1, 2014, 4:34 PM EDT
The No. 21 Memphis Tigers earned a huge home win on Saturday as they rallied late in the game to beat No. 7 Louisville 72-66 on Saturday for an American Athletic Conference home win.
The Tigers went on a crucial 15-1 run and scored at least a point on eight consecutive possessions to close out the game as Memphis held Louisville without a field goal the final 4:47 of the game.
Louisville seemed to have all of the momentum with 4:47 remaining as Montrezl Harrell’s dunk put the Cardinals up 65-57, but the Tigers buckled down on the defensive end and began to get stops that led to transition buckets. Geron Johnson’s strip of Russ Smith and driving layup with 2:38 remaining tied the game at 65 and Chris Crawford’s three-pointer on the ensuing possession put the game away for good for Memphis.
The win gives Memphis a big season sweep over Louisville and even though Shaq Goodwin struggled to a 1-for-11 afternoon from the field, the Tigers still had a balanced scoring effort.
Mike Dixon (18 points), Johnson (15 points), Austin Nichols (14 points) and Crawford (12 points) all finished in double-figures and never stopped fighting on both ends of the floor.
Louisville had a monster effort from Harrell (25 points, 12 rebounds) but struggled when Russ Smith hit the bench with four fouls in the second half. Smith scored 15 of his 19 points in the first half and didn’t score the final 12 minutes of the game as the Cardinals struggled to find consistent offense besides Harrell.
Memphis dealt with its own foul issues as Chris Crawford had four fouls early in the second half and played through it to knock down four big three-pointers. The Tigers (22-7, 11-5) now have difficult tests at Cincinnati and at home against SMU to close out AAC play.
Louisville (24-5, 13-3) had a chance to take a one-game lead on Cincinnati in the AAC after the Bearcats’ afternoon road loss to UConn but are now tied atop the standings at 13-3. The Cardinals don’t have it easy, either, as they travel to SMU and host UConn to close out conference play.
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