Memphis 79, Saint Louis 59
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Rodney Carney ended his shooting slump with 23 points and Jeremy Hunt added a career-high 22 points Wednesday to lead Memphis to a 79-59 victory over Saint Louis in the opening round of the Conference USA tournament.
Carney, who entered the game 1-of-19 from the field in his last two games at the FedExForum, missed only one of his nine shots and connected on all three from 3-point range.
Hunt started his first game of the season and was 7-of-13 from the field.
The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for Memphis, with one of those losses coming 70-61 at St. Louis. The Tigers (17-14) put the game away with a burst early in the second half, building the lead to 62-42 on Carney’s drive with 10:22 left and were never threatened again.
Memphis plays No. 25 Charlotte, the tournament’s No. 2 seed, in Thursday’s quarterfinals.
Saint Louis (9-21) never got closer than 20 points in the final 8:38.
Anthony Rice added 14 for Memphis, and Joey Dorsey finished with 10.
Luke Meyer led St. Louis with 12 points, and Anthony Drejaj had 11.
Memphis led 35-29 at halftime as Carney hit all five of his first-half shots, including two 3-pointers. He was so effective that when Memphis coach John Calipari took him out after Carney picked up his second foul, Tiger fans booed.
The teams swapped leads early, and St. Louis held a 19-18 lead after back-to-back 3-pointers by Meyer and Reggie Bryant. But a Carney three-point play began a 10-3 run and Memphis maintained the lead until the break.
The Tigers built the advantage to double digits early in the second half, eventually leading 46-32 after an 11-3 run, the Billikens’ only points coming on a 3-pointer by Bryant.