Justin Powell delivered a game-high 26 points Saturday night as Auburn rallied for a 74-71 nonconference victory over Memphis at Atlanta.
Allen Flanigan added 16 for Auburn (3-2), which pulled out the matchup of teams named Tigers in large part because of Powell’s accurate long-range shooting. The freshman was 9 of 13 from the field and 4 of 6 on 3-pointers, giving him 11 3-pointers in his last two games.
Flanigan finished off the victory at the foul line. After bouncing in a free throw with 5.5 seconds remaining to make it 73-69, he made another foul shot with 0.9 seconds on the clock. Flanigan missed the second free throw on purpose, and Memphis could not get off a desperation heave before time expired.
D.J. Jeffries scored 16 points to pace Memphis (4-3), while Boogie Ellis and Alex Lomax each scored 10 off the bench. Memphis’ leading scorer Landers Nolley was held to nine points after entering the game averaging 15.5 per contest.
While Auburn finished the game at a respectable 45.0 percent from the field, Memphis plummeted to 38.0 percent after a solid start. That better shooting percentage than offset Memphis’ 46-35 advantage in rebounding, which included 23 offensive boards.
The teams went back and forth during the first half. Ellis’ jumper at the 15:49 mark gave Memphis a 12-11 lead to signal a potential shootout between programs which have preferred a fast pace in recent seasons.
Nolley gave Memphis a lift with consecutive 3-pointers that increased their advantage 24-17 with 10:34 remaining before the half. Nolley then assisted Ellis on a 3-pointer that increased the margin to 29-21 just before the under-eight-minute television timeout.
Auburn clawed its way back into contention before the half ended despite problems with Memphis’ pressure defense. Flanigan’s jumper with 3:56 left finished a 9-2 run that cut the deficit to one point, and it stayed there for the remainder with Memphis leading 38-37 at intermission.
--Field Level Media