Memphis Holds Off Men’s Basketball In Pre-Christmas Tilt
MEMPHIS - An Isaiah Hart steal led to a Chuck Champion fast-break layup with 4:53 left in regulation, pushing Loyola University Maryland into a 65-64 lead Saturday afternoon over the University of Memphis, but the host Tigers reeled off the next seven points and pulled away for an 83-71 victory at the FedEx Forum.
Champion’s basket gave the Greyhounds their first lead since Hart scored 57 ticks into the second half to break a 35-35 halftime tie, but Malik Rhodes II immediately scored in transition, drew a foul and converted a free throw for a 3-point play to put the Tigers (9-3 overall) in front for good.
Two Andrew Kostecka free throws with 3:21 on the clock, made it a four-point game, 71-67, but Memphis scored five in a row after that.
Champion led a balanced Loyola scoring effort with 16 points, 11 coming before halftime as Loyola led by as many as 12.
A KaVaughn Scott layup at 11:07 in the first half gave the Greyhounds (2-8) their first double-digit lead of the game, 20-9, but Jeremiah Martin tallied three of his game-high 26 points on the Tigers’ ensuing possession.
Champion later knocked down one of his three 3-pointers at 9:05, pushing the Loyola advantage to 12, 25-13, before Jamal Johnson answered with a three for the Tigers.
Johnson’s basket sparked a 16-3 Memphis run that saw Martin hit a three at 4:09 to put the Tigers in front for the first time in the game.
Andre Walker, who had a game-high six assists, scored on Loyola’s next possession, but the lead see-sawed back to Memphis’ favor at 3:30 when Kyvon Davenport made two free throws.
Champion hit a three at 2:18 for a 33-31 Loyola lead, but David Nickelberry evened things with a jumper in the lane. Walker and Davenport traded baskets for the teams, and they went into the locker room even at the break.
Memphis led by as many as eight in the first 10 minutes of the second half, but Cam Gregory grabbed an offensive rebound and scored at 9:51, pulling Loyola within a pair, 56-54.
Gregory registered his fourth double-double of the year with 12 points and a game-best 13 rebounds. He has grabbed 29 rebounds in the Greyhounds’ last two games.
Three other Loyola players scored 10 or more points to give it five with double-figures for the first time this season. Hart scored 12 points, and Kostecka added 11. Scott logged a season-high 10 points.
Loyola returns to Reitz Arena to open Patriot League action on Friday, December 29, when it hosts the U.S. Naval Academy in a 7 p.m. game.