Memphis basketball avenges loss to ECU. Here are 5 takeaways from the Tigers' win
Josh Minott put up a double-double and Lester Quinones dropped a team-high 17 points to lead Memphis to a 71-54 victory over East Carolina on Thursday night at FedExForum.
Minott, a freshman forward, accounted for 13 points and hauled in 12 rebounds to record his second career double-double.
It's the second straight win for Memphis (11-8, 5-4 AAC), who were without injured stars Jalen Duren, DeAndre Williams, Landers Nolley II and Jayden Hardaway again. The Pirates (11-8, 2-5) got 19 points from leading scorer Tristen Newton.
Memphis and ECU combined for 129 shot attempts, which helped contribute to some higher-than-normal rebounding numbers. The Tigers collected a season-high 53, while the Pirates had 42.
Here are five takeaways from Thursday's contest.
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Earl Timberlake a difference-maker
Timberlake, a sophomore guard, put together an all-around performance.
The lefty was 3-of-4 from the field and 2 for 6 at the free-throw line for eight points, while four of his 10 boards were on the offensive end. He contributed five assists (three turnovers) and had one block.
Timberlake finished with the second-highest plus-minus rating of any Tiger (plus-15). Minott put up a plus-18.
The atonement of Josh Minott
The Tigers' emerging star knew he messed up. He didn't need anyone to remind him.
But as soon as he got back to Memphis after ECU pulled off the stunning, come-from-behind win on Jan. 15, Minott heard about it. The freshman forward was ejected from the game for leaving the bench during a minor skirmish between fellow freshman Jalen Duren and a Pirates player.
The mental lapse cost the Tigers, who needed Minott's production and presence. When the team returned home, he ventured out for a bite to eat and heard about it immediately.
"I’m like trying to make an order (and) dude behind the counter was like, 'You Josh? I’m like, 'Yeah,' " Minott said during a radio interview earlier this week. "He said, 'You’re the Minott kid, right?' I’m like, 'Yeah.' He’s like, 'You the one that got ejected, right?' So I’m like really hoping we can just create a statement and prove who the better team is."
Safe to say Minott did exactly that, notching the double-double to go along with two assists, two blocks and a steal.
Checking in on turnovers, free throws
Free throw shooting and ball security have been a sore spot for the Tigers.
Thursday was no different. Memphis, which came into the game shooting 66.6% at the line (309th in the country), made 17 of 31 (54.8%).
Poor free-throw shooting wasn't the only trend that continued against ECU. Memphis committed another 16 turnovers to keep the country's third-worst turnover average at just more than 17 a game.
Defense comes to play
ECU has had a tough go of it lately.
The Pirates, coming off a 43-point loss to Houston where they shot 16% from the field, didn't see much of a respite against Memphis. The Tigers held ECU to 26.4% overall and 20.7% from 3-point range. The field goal percentage is the second-lowest for any Memphis opponent this season. Memphis held North Carolina Central to 26.2% from the field.
Brandon Suggs, ECU's third-leading scorer and the player responsible for the game-winning shot in the first meeting, has missed the last two games with an ankle injury.
Chandler Lawson's minutes
The junior forward, who played for coach Penny Hardaway at East High before enrolling at Oregon, transferred to Memphis in the offseason.
Lawson played in just four games, however, before going down with a sprained ankle that left him sidelined for a dozen games. In his second game back, Lawson played 19 effective minutes. He scored six points (a season-high), grabbed three rebounds, blocked three shots and came up with two steals.
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at email@example.com or on Twitter @munzly.
This article originally appeared on Memphis Commercial Appeal: Memphis basketball: 5 takeaways from Tigers' win over ECU