Boogie Ellis scored 17 of his 21 points in the first half as No. 16 Memphis built a big lead and held off North Carolina State for an 83-78 victory on Thursday at Barclays Center in New York.
The Tigers (6-1) received key plays down the stretch after NC State threatened to wipe out a 20-point, second-half deficit.
Still trailing 63-44, the Wolfpack (5-2) scored eight straight points as Memphis went more than five minutes without scoring.
The Tigers rebuilt the lead to 15 points before another NC State rally closed the gap to 74-69 with 6:07 left after five straight points by Braxton Beverly.
D.J. Jeffries’ jumper gave Memphis at 79-72 lead with 1:50 remaining. Two free throws by NC State’s Jericole Hellems at the 59-second mark closed it to 79-76.
Tyler Harris converted a three-point play with 38 seconds to go, and the Tigers had enough to hold on.
Ellis shot 7-for-11 from the field for a Memphis backcourt that was without guard Lester Quinones because of a broken hand.
Precious Achiuwa had 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Harris ended up with 14 points for Memphis, which produced a 39-26 rebounding edge.
Markell Johnson scored 22 points, Hellems finished with 17 points and DJ Funderburk added 14 points for NC State, which had a five-game winning streak snapped. The Wolfpack made 20 of 24 free throws, helping them stay within range late in the game.
The Tigers’ 55-39 halftime lead came in large part from Memphis shooting 63.3 percent from the field. That included 6-for-7 success on 3-point shots. The Tigers finished 8-for-12 from long range.
Memphis was up 33-30 before pulling away. Harris scored five points in the Tigers’ 10-3 spurt to end the first half.
Johnson scored 13 first-half points, but the other Wolfpack starters combined for 14 points by the break.
The Tigers received 26 first-half points from their reserves and 31 points from the bench overall while winning their fourth consecutive game.
The neutral-court contest was NC State’s first game away from home.
—Field Level Media