Stifling defense turned into quick offense for No. 9-ranked Memphis, as the Tigers rolled past visiting New Orleans 97-55 Saturday at FedExForum.
Memphis (11-1) set the defensive tone early, forcing 14 turnovers in the first half while allowing just six field goals. New Orleans shot 25.0 percent from the floor in the first half and finished at 29.1 percent (16 of 55) for the game.
The Tigers led wire-to-wire, extending the lead to 10 points by the first media timeout, 17 by the second, and they were up by as many as 28 before intermission.
With its pressure garnering takeaways, Memphis converted that into easy offense. The Tigers scored 27 points off 28 Privateers turnovers and had 24 points on fast breaks.
Damion Baugh helped fuel the defensive effort with seven steals. Malcolm Dandridge added four steals off the bench, and Precious Achiuwa protected the rim to the tune of three blocked shots.
Memphis coach Penny Hardaway used the opportunity of an early, lopsided lead to rotate several players into the lineup. Ten Tigers scored at least six points, led by Achiuwa’s 18. Achiuwa also grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Memphis’ 45-29 advantage on the glass.
Lester Quinones scored 13 points, and Tyler Harris added 11 off the bench. Isaiah Maurice and D.J. Jeffries scored 10 points each.
Quinones made his return from a broken hand sustained last month. He missed the previous five games.
New Orleans (4-8) got 22 points, five rebounds and three assists from Troy Green, with Bryson Robinson adding 15 points. The duo made all three Privateers 3-pointers on the team’s 3-of-17 shooting day from behind the arc.
Although turnovers plagued the Privateers, they garnered several takeaways on the other end. Memphis suffered through periods of sloppy play, resulting in 27 turnovers. Green and Ahren Freeman each had three steals.
—Field Level Media