MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Memphis guard Will Barton decided it was time to take a leadership role and show more desire, particularly in rebounding.
Barton had 22 points and a career-high 13 rebounds as the No. 22 Tigers used a stellar 3-point shooting night to defeat Austin Peay 91-60 on Saturday night.
“Every time we are lacking in an area, I feel like me, being the leader and the go-to player, I’ve got to go fix the problem, and put a lot of weight on myself,” said Barton, who told coaches before the game he would get at least 10 rebounds. “Not just to get (myself) on, but to get my teammates going. To kind of set the tone and example.
“If everyone sees me doing it, everybody is going to fly to the boards and try to get rebounds.”
Adonis Thomas added 17 points for Memphis (4-2), which made 15 3s. Joe Jackson had 11 points, and Tarik Black finished with 10.
“It’s just come from me putting in extra time,” said Thomas, who hit his first five 3-point attempts. “Getting a lot of shots up, working on coming off curls, spot-shooting. There was a lot of work that went into it.”
Melvin Baker scored 15 points for Governors (0-9). Tyshwan Edmondson, who was averaging a team-best 13.4 points per game, was held to three points on 1-of-6 shooting.
“Our whole team’s struggling offensively,” Austin Peay coach Dave Loos said.
Memphis led by at least 30 for much of the second half, even though its 3-point shooting tapered off.
The Tigers fell one short of the school record for 3s, set against Marquette in 2004.
Austin Peay tried a zone defense against Memphis, but the Tigers ruined the strategy with a fast start from long range.
“We thought on the defensive end that we had to make them try to beat us over the top, and they did,” Loos said. “We said we were going to pack it in, try to keep them out of the lane. Keep them away from the rim and the basket.”
Memphis shot 62 percent (18 for 29) in the first half and led 52-27 at the break. The Tigers made 11 of their first 15 attempts from beyond the arc.
“I thought our shots were good. We were in rhythm,” Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. “Our team is not going to live and die by the 3. But we are going to take open shots.
“When we move the ball, throw the ball ahead and make the extra pass, we’re going to have shots in rhythm. We’ve just got to stick them. That’s the facts. … It’s kind of like a shooting practice.”
The Tigers broke the game open with a 16-2 run midway through the opening half. They were never really threatened in the second half.
The Tigers, who were being outrebounded by 8.4 boards a game coming in, managed to outrebound the Governors 42-37. But Austin Peay did finish with 19 offensive rebounds.
Pastner said he saw improvement in his team after losing two of three at the Maui Invitational and a lackadaisical start last Monday in a win over Jackson State.
“I thought for 40 minutes tonight we had good energy,” he said. “There wasn’t any drop off in energy or intensity.”