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Memphis atop C-USA after clobbering Bulls

A 15-1 run to open the game propels the Tigers to a 79-61 win, damaging USF's NCAA hopes.

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 26, 2001

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Shannon Forman scored 19 points and Shyrone Chatman added 17 points and seven assists Sunday night as Memphis defeated South Florida 79-61.

Memphis took the lead in Conference USA at 10-4 with its fifth straight victory over the Bulls. USF fell into a four-way tie for second in the conference at 9-5 with Cincinnati, Southern Miss and Marquette with two games left. Wednesday, Memphis visits Southern Miss and Marquette is at Houston; Thursday, USF hosts Cincinnati.

Memphis took an early 15-1 lead, then held on as USF closed to single digits on several occasions in the second half.

Forman made 7 of 8 shots from the field, including 3 of 4 three-pointers. Chatman was 4-of-6 from the field and 3-of-4 from long range. Chatman added six rebounds.

Kelly Wise had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Memphis, and Earl Barron came off the bench for 11 points and eight rebounds.

Reggie Kohn and B.B. Waldon led USF with 14 points each, Waldon scoring 12 in the second half. Cedric Smith finished with 11.

Memphis took a 41-24 lead into the dressing room behind the three-point shooting of Forman and Chatman. The Tiger seniors, playing in their last home game, each went 3-for-3 from three-point range in the opening half.

Forman, who had 13 in the half, hit a pair of long-range shots to open the game as USF missed its first six shots.

Memphis held a double-digit lead until seven minutes were left in the first half. A pair of thunderous breakaway dunks by Sam Sanders and a three-point play by Will McDonald got the Bulls within eight. Two free throws by Smith capped a 7-1 USF run, cutting the Tiger lead to 29-22 with 4:54 left in the half.

But the Tigers outscored South Florida 12-2 over the final 4:21 for a 17-point lead at the half.

Memphis continued to maintain its lead in the second half, eventually building a 21-point advantage when Wise hit a pair of free throws with 14:28 remaining.

On several occasions, the Bulls cut the lead to single digits, but Memphis answered the rallies. The final USF run was capped by a drive by Kohn to cut the Tiger advantage to 64-57 with just under six minutes to play.

Memphis countered the spurt with 12 unanswered points to rebuild the lead to 76-57 and never was threatened again.

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