No. 4 Memphis too strong for Blue Raiders

January 4, 2006 · MT Media Relations
MEMPHIS - Middle Tennessee's first men's basketball game against Memphis since 1990 is one the Blue Raiders would just as soon forget.

No. 4-ranked Memphis got off to a strong start, established an early 11-point lead and then dominated the second half on the way to an 83-50 win in front of 13,525 at the FedExForum.

"This Memphis team is one of the best, if not the best, in the country," Middle Tennessee coach Kermit Davis said. "They are very talented and they showed why they are such a highly-regarded team tonight. We didn't get off to a good start, and they did. We took our chances with our zone and they came out and hit four quick 3-pointers and it went from there."

Marcus Morrison led Middle Tennessee with 11 points, while Tim Blue added nine, and Bud Howard finished with eight. Memphis (12-2) placed four players in double figures, led by Rodney Carney's 19-point performance.

Middle Tennessee (7-5) was held to a season-low 50 points by the Tigers, and the Blue Raiders went through a 11:06 drought without a field goal in the second half. In fact, two Morrison free throws with 6:49 remaining in the game were the only points Middle Tennessee scored in between a Theryn Hudson dunk with 15:12 remaining and another Hudson slam with 4:06 to play.

"Memphis is definitely as good as advertised," Morrison said. "We had one of our worst games tonight and they had a lot to do with that, but a bad game for us and the way they played was not a good combination. We just have to put this behind us and get ready for Western Kentucky."

The Blue Raiders were forced into a season-high 25 turnovers and Memphis converted those miscues into 29 points. The Tiger reserves also supplied 37 points as Memphis built its lead to as many as 38 before settling for the 33-point triumph.

Middle Tennessee's offense was hampered by the fact its two leading scorers - Fats Cuyler and Adam Vogelsberg, combined for just six points on 1-of-11 shooting from the field and 1-of-8 from 3-point range. Cuyler was 0-of-6 from 3-point, marking the first time in 23 games the senior guard did not connect from beyond the arc.

The Blue Raiders trailed 40-26 at the half but kept the game within 9-to-11 points throughout the first 20 minutes before Memphis scored the final four points before intermission to build its biggest lead to that point.

The Tigers broke the game open at the outset of the second half when they used an 18-8 run to build a 58-37 lead at the 13:37 mark.

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