No. 19 Memphis 104, Centenary 40

Memphis guard Chris Crawford sat quietly on the bench in the

first half, a disciplinary victim over classroom matters.

He made up for it in the second half.

Memphis was already up easily at halftime, but Crawford scored

16 points after serving his first-half punishment, hitting all six

of his shots from the field as the 19th-ranked Tigers cruised past

Centenary 104-40 on Friday night.

”It was some classroom (stuff),” Crawford said. ”It was a

little classroom difficulty, and I had to suffer the consequences.

I have to learn from it.”

Antonio Barton had 17 points to lead the Tigers, who broke out

early and never looked back in its season-opener.

Memphis shot 55 percent from the field for the game, including

going 14 of 27 from 3-point range. Crawford’s perfect night from

the field included four from outside the arc. Barton missed only

one of his six shots, and was perfect on three attempts from

3-point range.

”Once I saw that first one go in, I saw that green light,”

Crawford said. ”I just knew I wasn’t going to miss any more. It’s

a great feeling.”

Meanwhile, the Tigers held the Gents to 26 percent shooting.

”Experience, they had it,” Centenary coach Adam Walsh said of

the difference in the game. ”You can’t replicate that. There’s no

way to do it. You can kind of try to do pressure stuff, but nothing

compares in front of this type of crowd for the first time.”

Angel Garcia scored 14 points for Memphis, while Charles

Carmouche and Drew Barham had 13 apiece. Barham led the Tigers with

nine rebounds.

Centenary, which plays in the Summit League, was led by six

points each from Roman Tubner, Jeron Trotman and Logan Lowery.

Crawford wasn’t the only disciplinary issue of the night. Junior

Wesley Witherspoon didn’t start because he was late for a team

meeting. Then there was the status of Memphis freshman Jelan

Kendrick, who, according to Tigers coach Josh Pastner, was

suspended for the game.

The 6-foot-6 guard from Atlanta, who missed two weeks of

preseason practice for ”personal reasons,” had just been

reinstated Nov. 4.

Pastner would not discuss specifics of what led to the

suspension. As for Kendrick’s future and whether he will return to

the team, the coach said he would wait until later to determine

that after talking with all the parties, including his coaching

staff.

”My big thing is there are consequences for actions,” Pastner

said. ”I’m a big believer in that.”

Memphis led 52-20 at halftime behind 10 points from Garcia, and

the Tigers shooting 59 percent, including 7 of 11 from long

range.

Centenary was never really in the game after Memphis put

together a 21-0 run in the first half to build the lead to

31-6.

”It was just unselfishness,” Barham said. ”People started

sharing the ball.”

The Gents didn’t score for 6 1/2 minutes, and struggled from the

field from the start. They didn’t get over 20 percent shooting

until the latter stages of the first half. They missed 14 of their

first 16 shots, and misfired on their first eight outside the

arc.

They would manage to get to 21 percent before the break, but

none of the baskets were easy as Centenary settled for long

3-pointers with minimal success and had trouble when they got to

the basket.

The onslaught continued in the second half as Crawford came in

and scored all of his points, helping Memphis build the lead to as

many as 65 points.

”That’s the mentality we’ve got to have,” senior forward Will

Coleman said. ”Regardless if we are playing a second grade

basketball team or a team full of All-Stars, we’ve got to have the

mentality that we never let up off the pedal. Just step on their

throats.”