MEMPHIS, Tenn. — They had trailed the entire second half and by as many as 12 points, but the No. 24 Memphis Tigers rallied to defeat No. 23 Gonzaga 60-54 on Saturday night at FedExForum.
A jumper by guard Kevin Pangos gave the Zags a 54-50 lead with 3:20 to play. From there, the Memphis defense clamped down. The Bulldogs trailed 55-54 when they got the ball with 1:04 to play. The possession ended in a shot clock violation, and the Tigers made 5 of 6 free throws to seal the victory.
Guards Michael Dixon and Chris Crawford led Memphis (18-5) with 11 points each. Guard Joe Jackson had 10 points and forward Shaq Goodwin had 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.
Forward Sam Dower paced Gonzaga (21-4) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Center Przemek Karnowski and guard Gerard Coleman scored 12 each.
Memphis had a huge advantage on the glass: 44-28.
Gonzaga took a three-point halftime lead and extended it to 12, 42-30, at the 14:35 mark on a putback by Dower. That followed two Gonzaga free throws that were the result of a flagrant two foul call on Tigers power forward Dominic Woodson; by rule, he was ejected from the game.
The Tigers were still down 42-31 when Jackson, who is listed at 6 feet 1, leaped and blocked Karnowski’s shot at the rim. That charged up the crowd and the Tigers, who went on an 11-2 run to cut the lead to 44-42 at 8:16.
Memphis didn’t score a field goal for seven minutes; Dixon hit a 3-pointer with 4:51 left. The Tigers’ next field goal came at 3:54, when Dixon made a running jump shot in traffic. That cut the Zags’ lead to 52-50.
The Bulldogs led 25-22 at halftime as both teams struggled with their shooting. The Tigers shot just 26.5 percent (9-for-34) and Gonzaga shot 40.7 percent (11-for-27). At the free-throw line, the teams were a combined 3-for-10 (30 percent).
Bulldogs guard Gerard Coleman led all scorers with 10 points. Crawford hit 3 of 4 3-pointers and had nine points.
Gonzaga jumped out to a 5-1 lead but then went almost seven minutes without scoring. The Tigers went on an 11-0 run that included one shot-clock violation against the Zags and another near violation that ended with a desperation 3-point attempt from 7-foot-1 center Przemek Karnowski.
Gonzaga trailed 12-5 at the 11:10 mark but responded with a 12-0 run to take a 17-12 lead at 7:24. Memphis then outscored Gonzaga 10-8 to the break.
NOTES: Memphis brought a 5-2 series record into Saturday’s game. … Since the 2000-01 season, the Tigers and Bulldogs have combined for 22 NCAA tournament berths (nine for Memphis, 13 for Gonzaga). … Gonzaga ranks second nationally in 3-point field goal percentage at 41.8. Three players are shooting over 40 percent: G/F Drew Barham (47.9 percent), G Gary Bell Jr. (45.7 percent) and G Kevin Pangos (43.4 percent). … Barham is from Memphis and played for the Tigers from 2009 to 2012. … The game was televised on ESPN as part of the network’s “College GameDay” coverage. The last time “GameDay” stopped in Memphis was in 2008 for No. 1 Memphis vs. No. 2 Tennessee.
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