MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) David Jones scored 26 points, Caleb Mills added 11 and No. 23 Memphis built a second-half lead to pull away from No. 22 Virginia 77-54 on Tuesday night.

Jones was 8 of 15 from the floor, including 2 of 3 from outside the arc as Memphis (9-2) won its fourth straight.

Reece Beekman led the Cavaliers (9-2) with 13 points, while Jake Groves added 12 points. Ryan Dunn finished with 11 points, 11 rebounds and a pair of blocks as Virginia saw its five-game winning streak snapped.

While Virginia's defense is ranked high in several categories, it was the Memphis pressure and the Tigers style that allowed them to hold a double-digit lead midway through the second half.

The advantage stretched to 65-44 with a 13-0 Memphis rally.

“When they made some plays with their athleticism and disrupted us, then all of a sudden we made some uncharacteristic (mistakes),” Virginia coach Tony Bennett said. “We couldn’t even dribble, pass (or) make simple plays. Then that just snowballed.”

Virginia got down early and could never really recover. A major factor was Virginia's 18 turnovers, 15 of them by Memphis steals. The Cavaliers average eight turnovers a game.

“Our identity is defense,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said. “That's who we are. We're a disruptive team. That's our identity.”

Starting the second half, Memphis turned up its defense and made some adjustments.

“We just came together at halftime,” said Memphis center Malcolm Dandridge, who had nine points, eight rebounds and three steals. “We seen a couple of mistakes we needed to adjust on and went from there.”


Virginia: The Cavaliers had not played to their potential in the last-minute win over Northeastern on Saturday, where they fought back most of the game. This time, Memphis blitzed the Cavaliers taking a 13-1 lead and despite pulling close at times in the first half, Virginia was never in the game after the midway point of the second half.

Memphis: The Tigers climbed into the Top 25 for the first time this season after Saturday's win over then- No. 13 Clemson. Memphis solidified the ranking with another win over a Top 25 opponent. This one was convincing as the Memphis defense took Virginia out of its game with pace and defensive pressure. That resulted in holding the Cavaliers to 22 second-half points.


Memphis got news Tuesday that Kansas State transfer Nae'Qwan Tomlin signed with the Tigers, an addition that should provide more depth on the frontline. Tomlin, who averaged 10.4 points in 36 games last season, was suspended from the team after he was involved in a bar fight in October. Despite calls for the university to allow him to return, athletic director Gene Taylor announced Tomlin would no longer play at Kansas State.

“I'll talk defensively first,” Hardaway said when asked about Tomlin's contributions. “He can guard one through five. He's a rim protector, and he's an unbelievable rebounder.” As for when Tomlin will be ready, Hardaway said they won't rush him. “You just put him out there and let him get his feet wet.”


Virginia: Hosts Morgan State on Dec. 27.

Memphis: Hosts Vanderbilt on Saturday.


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