MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—For an opening night, Memphis coach John Calipari enjoyed the way his team played.
Chris Douglas-Roberts led the way with 21 points and five others played strong supporting roles in the No. 13 Tigers’ 111-69 rout of Jackson State on Thursday night.
“I liked our effort. I liked the fact that we played that fast and had 12 turnovers,” Calipari said. “There were some things I’ll see on the tape that I won’t like. Defensively, we did some good things. We broke down a few times, but we have to rebound the ball defensively.”
Whatever flaws Calipari finds, they weren’t evident to Jackson State coach Tevester Anderson. His team has played four games in the last week, facing No. 10 Alabama and No. 23 Georgia Tech in the first week, and losing to Illinois on Wednesday night before facing Memphis.
“(Memphis) is the best shooting team that we’ve played,” Anderson said. “They shoot the ball really well. They are probably the best rebounding team too. They may be the best of the teams we’ve play.”
Memphis (1-0) never trailed in the game, led by as many as 23 in the first half and continued to build the advantage after the break, eventually leading by 46 points with about six minutes left.
Jeremy Hunt scored 16 for Memphis, while Doneal Mack added 14, and Robert Dozier had 13 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out.
Trey Johnson, the preseason Southwestern Athletic Conference player of the year, scored 32 points to lead Jackson State (0-4). Julius Young added 11 and Grant Maxey had 10.
Memphis forced Jackson State into 22 turnovers and outrebounded them 56-40, including 26 on the offensive end. Joey Dorsey had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis, eight of them on the offensive glass. Many of those became dunks off Jackson State misses.
“That’s what we need from Joey,” Calipari said. “How he cleaned up baskets.”
Johnson scored 12 of his 16 first-half points in the first 11 minutes as Jackson State was able to stay close. But Memphis extended its lead as Mack hit consecutive 3-pointers. The Tigers shot 49 percent in the first half and led 54-33 at the break.
Willie Kemp had a tough shooting night for Memphis, going 2-for-13 from the field, including 1-for-7 from 3-point range. Memphis was 15-for-36 from behind the arc and 16-for-31 from the free throw line. Calipari has emphasized he’s not particularly worried about great shooting nights.
“Today, we shot really well, and what happened? We win by 40,” Calipari said. “There’s going to be other games where you don’t shoot it as well, just like a year ago, and you’re going to be in a close game.”
Jackson State was 28-for-33 from the foul line, but 1-for-10 from behind the arc.
After holding the 21-point lead at the break, Memphis continued to shuffle its lineup, bringing in fresher players while Jackson State was trying to find its energy after a busy stretch over the last week.
“They take an All-American out and put an All-American in,” Anderson said of Memphis. “We were big-time dragging. We couldn’t get the rebound. We couldn’t get to the ball. They beat us to every ball. We’re a better rebounding team than we showed, and we’re a better shooting team than we were tonight.”
Douglas-Roberts agreed with Calipari’s assessment, noting that the scoring and offense are a byproducts of how well they get on the boards and play defense. With a running style, there are going to be mistakes, the sophomore guard said, but the hustle can overcome them.
“The way we play, we’re going to be wrong like 25 percent of the time. We’re not going to be perfect,” Douglas-Roberts said. “We play a ratty style, and we’re going to give up some buckets.
“The shooting and the offense is an extra. Our defense and rebounding is how we win.”