Antonio Barton scored 19 points and host Memphis cruised
to a 69-51 victory over in-state rival Tennessee on Wednesday in the final
non-conference game for both teams.
Tarik Black added 18 points and seven rebounds for
Memphis (9-5), which has won three straight and enters Conference USA play with
some much-needed confidence after a disastrous start to the season.
Trae Golden scored 22 points for the Volunteers (7-7),
who had their four-game winning streak snapped.
It was the rare occasion that the fierce rivals have meet
twice in one season, and this contest was nothing like the first. In that game, on Nov. 22 in Maui, the
teams traded dunks and 3-pointers in the Tigers’ wildly entertaining 99-97
Both teams struggled for the most part this time, but
Memphis was in control throughout.
The Tigers trailed only briefly in the first half and led
28-20 at intermission thanks to an 11-5 run over the final 6:32. The Volunteers
never got closer than eight points in the second half, and Memphis finally
pulled away thanks to a 13-6 run that gave it a 57-41 lead with just over four
minutes to play.
There was a moment of silence prior to tip off for former
Tigers coach Gene Bartow, who succumbed to a long battle with stomach cancer on
Tuesday. Bartow, best known as the coach who succeeded John Wooden at UCLA, led
the Tigers to the 1973 national championship game.