MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) David Jones scored 19 points, Nae'Qwan Tomlin had 15 points and 15 rebounds and No. 19 Memphis used a second-half rally to pull away from Austin Peay 81-70 on Saturday night.

Nick Jourdain added 12 points, while Jahvon Quinerly finished with 11 as the Tigers won their sixth straight.

Dezi Jones led the Governors (7-8) with 20 points, making 7 of 18 shots and 4 of 10 from outside the arc. He also grabbed nine rebounds. Dez White finished with 11 points.

As they did a week ago against Vanderbilt, the Tigers (11-2) seemed to play down to the competition in the first half. The offense had little flow, the Governors defense was outplaying Memphis and Austin Peay was winning the hustle plays.

A late 3-pointer by Jaykwon Walton gave Memphis a 37-34 lead at the half.

“It's already a problem,” Memphis coach Penny Hardaway said when asked about the closeness of the last two games. “Even though Austin Peay can compete, we just didn't have the fight. All you want is the fight. ...We're not giving the fight every possession, and I'm seeing a trend now in back-to-back games.”

Austin Peay was still within one possession at the 12-minute mark of the second half, but Memphis went on a 15-3 run for its first double-digit lead.

Demarcus Sharp, Austin Peay’s leading scorer at 18.4 points a game, was held to six points, but also had six points and six assists.

“I thought he had an excellent game like he always does,” Corey Gipson, the Governors coach, said. “With our depth now, the scoring is going to be evenly distributed.

“But Dezi Jones did a great job of understanding tonight was his night. This was his type of game.”

The Memphis advantage reached 16 with six minutes left, enough for Memphis to hold off the Governors.

“They just went through a little run there in the second half and got some separation that made the difference,” Gipson said.

The performance raised concerns not only from Hardaway, but from his players.

Tomlin said going into American Athletic Conference play starting this week, Memphis must overcome the lackadaisical attitude even if they are favored. He said Memphis should “try to beat everybody, by a lot.”

Jones agreed, and said outsiders may question the Tigers after struggling the last two games.

“We're still fighting for our respect even though we're in the Top 25,” Jones said, adding: “The way we showed tonight, I don't think no one is going to respect us because we were supposed to blow them out (by) 20, 25 points.”


Austin Peay came out with more desire at the start, and that kept the Governors close through the first half. They were keeping pace until the midway portion of the second half when their shooting fell off, allowing Memphis to build its lead.

Memphis was sloppy in the first half and was not living up to its national ranking. That led to a slim halftime lead. Memphis finally showed its athletic ability in the second half. As is usually the case, Jones helped spark the rally with 11 of his points after halftime.


Austin Peay: Opens Atlantic Sun conference play at Bellarmine on Thursday.

Memphis: Opens AAC conference play at Tulsa on Thursday.


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