MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis' experience paid off in the 17th-ranked Tigers' final game before opening conference play next week.
Michael Dixon scored 14 points, Shaq Goodwin had 13 points and seven rebounds as Memphis beat Jackson State 75-61 on Saturday.The Tigers never trailed and showed the experience of senior guards Dixon, Joe Jackson, Chris Crawford and Geron Johnson in forcing turnovers and providing a defense that forced Jackson State into a poor shooting day, particularly in the first half."The key was to apply pressure to them," Goodwin said. "We knew that everybody on their team had a high turnover-to-assist ratio. .We figured out if we apply pressure, they'll turn it over."David Pellom had 12 points with all five of his field goals coming off dunks from fast-breaks and rebounds, and Jackson scored 11 for Memphis (9-2).Julysses Nobles led Jackson State (4-8) with 20 points, despite going 6 of 16 from the field. Brandon West scored 14, connecting on 7 of 10 shots and was instrumental in keeping Jackson State in the game during the first half.Memphis led by as many as 19 before the break, then eased to its eighth win in nine games."I thought (Memphis) did a good job of staying in their press because we have so many young guys," Jackson State coach Wayne Brent said. "I thought that was the difference because they got a couple of turnovers when we cut the lead to nine."Memphis had 31 points off 20 Jackson State turnovers and finished with a 45-35 rebounding edge, including 18 off the offensive boards.Memphis built a double-digit lead in the first half, connecting early from 3-point range while Jackson State struggled.Jackson led a balanced Memphis attack with nine points, while West had 12 for Jackson State.Memphis went on an early 10-0 run, holding Jackson State scoreless for almost 6 minutes. That contributed to Memphis carrying a 40-28 advantage into the break.Jackson State ended the half shooting 39 percent even with West missing only one of seven shots. At one point near the 6-minute mark of the first half, West was 5 of 6 from the field, while his teammates were a combined 1 of 15.Memphis shot 52 percent in the first half, but was hindered by committing 14 of its 19 turnovers before the break."We didn't take care of the ball like we normally do," Dixon said of the Memphis turnovers, "but we kept moving on to the next play."Jackson State cut the deficit to nine points early in the second half after a putback by West. But Memphis answered with 12-0 run, Pellom connecting on a trio of dunks during the spree."I thought we got up 19, and we didn't continue to play the right way," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. "We coasted. We got loosey-goosey. We got unsound, and that ends up biting us in the butt."Not so much so that the rally didn't offset the problem as Memphis righted its offense and pushed the lead to 53-32. And, while Jackson State was able to cut it to 11 near the 4-minute mark, the buffer was enough that Memphis was never really threatened down the stretch.