Memphis 72, East Carolina 66
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Rodney Carney scored 19 points, while Duane Erwin added 12 points and 12 rebounds Wednesday night to lead Memphis to a 72-66 victory over East Carolina.
Carney, who scored his 1,000th career point in the second half, was 7-of-13 from the field, including 4-of 9 from long range as the Tigers (13-9, 6-2 Conference USA) won their third straight.
East Carolina (7-14, 2-7) controlled the game early but could not hold on down the stretch as Memphis got untracked midway through the second half.
Jeremy Hunt scored 14 for Memphis, the bulk of his points coming on 10 free throws. Darius Washington added 13 points.
Mike Cook led the Pirates with 17 points, while Corey Rouse finished with 12. Moussa Badiane and Tom Hammonds had 11 points each before both fouled out in the final minute.
Memphis appeared to be going through the motions until it was almost too late. The Tigers came out in the second half with a little more fire but still trailed until Anthony Rice’s 3-pointer with 13:20 remaining gave Memphis its first lead.
The basket was part of a 12-1 run that built the Memphis advantage to 48-40 lead with just over 10 minutes to play.
The Tigers started showing more hustle midway through the second half, diving for loose balls and running the break. East Carolina, meanwhile, began having trouble handling the ball, helping the Tigers’ transition offense.
Memphis eventually would build the lead to 61-51 with just under four minutes left and never trailed after gaining the lead on Rice’s jumper.
East Carolina led 33-28 at halftime thanks to the uninspired play by the Tigers. Memphis managed only three field goals in the first 10 minutes and committed eight turnovers in the half.
At one point midway through the first half, Memphis coach John Calipari pounded the floor with his hand in frustration.