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March 10, 2012This had the makings of the same game that was played just a week and a half ago for the Tigers' regular season finale. The University of Memphis basketball team (25-8) obliterated the UCF Golden Knights in the second semifinal of the Conference USA Tournament, 83-52, in front of a raucous crowd of about 11,000 fans.
It was the second straight victory in the C-USA tournament for the Tigers, who are on a roll. They will now play Marshall for the C-USA tournament title after they beat the No. 2 seeded Southern Miss Golden Eagles 73-62.
"This was a good win," said Josh Pastner, head coach of the Tigers. "We did some good things defensively. We had some big shots, but I think our biggest thing for us was on the defensive end - we played some good defense."
The Tigers had a balanced attacked against the Knights. Four Tigers scored in double figures, led by senior Wesley Witherspoon's 15 points and five rebounds. He was also 8-of-10 from the free throw line. Sophomores Joe Jackson and Will Barton each chipped in with 10 points, while Tarik Black added 13 points and another five boards.
"I think Wesley Witherspoon is playing his best basketball of his career right now," Pastner said. "He's really stepped up at a time at a stretch where we had multiple injuries and guys going down. He's played a vital role for us playing multiple positions."
That swarming Tigers defense held the Knights to just 33.3 percent from the field in the game while causing 14 turnovers. Memphis also outrebounded Central Florida 37-30 and held stars Marcus Jordan to just 9 points and Keith Clanton to only five points and one rebound.
The Tigers don't have much time to celebrate as they have a very early championship game against the No. 6 seeded Marshall Thundering Herd. Tipoff for that game is at 10:35 a.m.