MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Memphis won as a ranked team for the first time this season. The talk after the 88-64 victory over Texas Christian on Wednesday night was all about Billy Richmond’s perfect shooting.
The sophomore guard, who transferred from Vanderbilt, was 0-for-18 from 3-point range entering the game. But he made all four shots he took outside the arc and finished with 12 points for the 24th-ranked Tigers.
Richmond declined comment after the game, but both coaches had plenty of praise for him.
Memphis coach John Calipari was particularly impressed by Richmond’s hustle and defensive intensity—two of his criticisms of Richmond—in addition to the shooting.
“The best thing for me, Billy gets a standing ovation for playing hard and diving on the floor,” Calipari said. “Bottom line is, if Billy Richmond plays that way, we are real, real good. … Billy Richmond can dominate a game on defense and offense. He can.”
TCU coach Neil Dougherty was impressed by Richmond’s shooting, particularly since he entered the game with a reputation of misfiring rather than connecting.
“They can send me the bill for correcting shots,” he said. “(Richmond) hits his first 3 of the year, and then he made all four of them. I feel like the shot doctor of the week.”
The Tigers (19-5, 10-3 Conference USA) had open looks from the outside because TCU (8-18, 2-12) was trying unsuccessfully to stop center Chris Massie, who finished with 24 points and 11 rebounds, his 13th double-double of the season.
Massie was 10-of-12 from the field as Memphis won its eighth straight and maintained its spot atop the conference’s National Division.
“When Massie can score 24 points in 24 minutes and only take 12 shots to do it, we have our issues there,” Dougherty said. “… We can’t do anything about him. We don’t have anything, short of putting everybody around him.”
TCU lost for the 13th time in 15 games.
Antonio Burks added 13 points and 10 assists for Memphis, while Jeremy Hunt had 10 points.
Memphis was 11-for-29 from 3-point range.
Junior Blount and Corey Santee each had 14 points for the Horned Frogs and Santee added seven assists. Bingo Merriex scored 13 points for TCU.
The Tigers led by as many as 30 points in the second half.
“That was a good win and a terrific defensive effort,” Calipari said. “We broke down a little in the second half. We weren’t swarming as well, and they got to the basket on some layups that I was disappointed in. Overall, it was a great, great defensive effort.”
Memphis, which moved into the national rankings earlier this week for time since December 2001, scored the game’s first nine points and built the lead to double digits around the 12-minute mark of the first half and the Tigers led 49-25 at halftime.
“They were really good coming out, obviously,” Dougherty said. “We were in way over our head.”