Thomas leads Memphis past Lipscomb 85-75

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) Adonis Thomas had 18 points and nine rebounds Monday night as Memphis broke a two-game losing streak with an 85-75 victory over Lipscomb.

Will Barton added 16 points and nine rebounds for the Tigers (6-4), who outscored the Bison 12-5 down the stretch to preserve the victory.

Deonte Alexander and Jordan Burgason had 16 points apiece for Lipscomb (6-7), which lost its third straight.

Memphis shot 56.9 percent for the game (33 of 58) compared to 44.4 percent (28 of 63) for Lipscomb. Both teams took care of the basketball, the Tigers committing nine turnovers, while the Bison had only five.

Six Memphis players finished in double figures. Tarik Black had 13, while Chris Crawford added 11. Joe Jackson and Antonio Barton scored 10 points apiece.

Memphis held a 39-27 advantage on the boards, but Lipscomb grabbed 13 offensive rebounds, leading to 21 second-chance points.

The Tigers have dealt with accusations that they are too soft, particularly during the last two losses - to Top 25 teams Murray State and Louisville. That led to a much more passionate Memphis coach Josh Pastner, who shed the nice guy, get-along-with-players reputation. Instead of getting along, he got in their faces.

On several occasions in the first half, Pastner chewed out individual players for their lack of hustle or inefficiency at grabbing rebounds.

Memphis led 45-40 at halftime, as Will Barton and Thomas had 10 points apiece.

Alexander scored 10 first-half points to lead the Bison.

Lipscomb led early behind 3-point shooting, but couldn't keep the pace that helped it build the advantage.

Memphis broke open a 15-all game with a 15-5 rally to build the lead to 10. But defensively, the Tigers were leaving the Bison open for too many shots. Lipscomb outscored the Tigers 7-3 down the stretch, and when Justin Glenn scored inside with time running out, the Bison had cut Memphis's halftime margin to five.

Memphis shot 63 percent for the half compared to 48.5 percent for the Bison. But Lipscomb only had two turnovers at intermission.

The Tigers began extending the lead in the second half. Thomas' jumper with 18:14 left built the advantage to double digits, a margin that eventually would stretch to 71-57 on another Thomas basket with 8:24 left. That was Memphis' largest lead.

Lipscomb rattled off seven unanswered points, part of a 13-2 run, to get the margin down to 73-30 with 4:44 left. The rally was capped by a 3-pointer from the left corner by Martin Smith.

But Crawford scored in the lane, then Will Barton connected on a 3-pointer with 1:40 left.

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