PISCATAWAY, N.J. — The Memphis Tigers posted their 14th straight 20-win season after knocking off the Rutgers Scarlet Knights 64-59 Thursday at the Rutgers Athletic Center.
The No. 22 Tigers (20-6, 8-5 American Athletic Conference) were led by guard Michael Dixon Jr., who scored 15 points. Guard Joe Jackson added 11 points and forwards Shaq Goodwin and Austin Nichols contributed 10 points each for the Tigers.
Rutgers (10-17, 4-10) was paced by junior forward Kadeem Jack’s 22 points and 10 rebounds.
Memphis, which is fourth in the nation in assists, dished out 16 assists on 22 of its shots. Guard Chris Dixon led the Tigers with five assists.
Rutgers dropped four of its last five games and fifth overall to a ranked opponent this season.
The Scarlet Knights managed to draw as close as four points at 53-49 on a basket by Jack with 3:45 left to play, ending a nearly three minute drought where they did not score from the floor. But Memphis responded with a 6-2 run for a 59-51 edge with 1:16 to go.
Memphis led 36-27 before Jack scored eight of Rutgers’s next 10 points to cut the Tigers’ lead to 43-37 with 12:11 to go.
Goodwin scored eight points to help Memphis take a 28-21 halftime lead. The Tigers overcame the poor shooting of guard Joe Jackson, who made only one of 10 first-half shots.
Rutgers used a 7-0 burst to get as close as 24-21 with 2:21 to go in the first half after trailing by as many as 10 points early in the game.
The Tigers started off hitting their first four shots from the floor and two from the line to jump to a 12-2 advantage four minutes into the game. Guard Geron Johnson contributed five points in the run.
NOTES: Memphis was making its first trip to New Jersey since 1953, when it defeated Seton Hall 103-85 in East Orange. … The first 1,000 fans received an Eddie Jordan bobblehead. Jordan starred at Rutgers from 1973-77, setting school career records for assists (585) and steals (220). … Rutgers F Kadeem Jack scored in double figures in 22 times this season prior to Thursday. … Memphis G Joe Jackson led the American Athletic Conference in steals (2.3 per game) entering Thursday’s action. … Memphis freshman F Dominic Woodson missed his second consecutive game for what coach Josh Pastner said was “using inappropriate language” on the bench against Central Florida on Feb. 12.
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