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Jackson leads No. 22 Memphis past UCF 93-71

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CLAY BAILEY | February 13, 2013 11:25 PM EST | AP

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Joe Jackson had 21 points and 10 assists, four other Memphis players scored in double figures and the 22nd-ranked Tigers beat Central Florida 93-71 on Wednesday night for their 15th straight victory.

Jackson was 10 of 12 from the field, hitting his only 3-pointer. Geron Johnson had 19 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for Memphis (21-3, 10-0 Conference USA), while Adonis Thomas added 17 points. Chris Crawford and D.J. Stephens scored 10 points apiece, with Stephens hitting all four of his shots.

Isaiah Sykes led the Knights (17-7, 7-3) with 17 points and six rebounds. Daiquan Walker finished with 14 points, missing only one of his six shots. Tristan Spurlock had 11 points, while Keith Clanton, UCF's leading scorer at 16 points per game, was limited to 10 on 3-of-10 shooting from the field.

Memphis put the game out of reach in the first 13 minutes of the second half, highlighted by a 21-1 run that featured 3-point shooting, strong defense and fast-break layups.

The 18 assists from Jackson and Johnson contributed to the Tigers handing out 28 assists on 38 field goals.

Memphis entered the Top 25 this week for the first time since Nov. 19 and was riding its winning streak to lead the conference. UCF entered the game in second place tied with Southern Mississippi, two games behind the Tigers.

The Tigers took the first double-digit lead of the game in the early stages of the second half, opening with a 9-2 run. Thomas had nine points in the half before the 15-minute mark. Sykes had all six of UCF's points at that stage.

Near the 13-minute mark, Memphis began converting from outside the arc. Crawford connected on consecutive 3-pointers, and Johnson added a third to stretch the Memphis lead to 67-49 with 11:36 left.

And the lead just kept growing, as Memphis eventually crafted a 21-1 run for a 78-50 lead with 8 minutes left.

A 3-pointer by Clanton stopped the rally, the first field goal from the Knights in about 6 minutes.

But UCF never got close after the Memphis rally.

The Tigers led 42-36 at halftime.

Both teams shot well in the first half, but it was a different offensive approach. The Tigers were at 53 percent with a 28-12 advantage in the paint. Meanwhile, UCF shot 52 percent, making five of 10 shots from outside the arc.

A lot of those inside points for Memphis came from Stephens, who hit all four of his shots in the half and had 12 points, while Johnson already had 12 points for the Tigers, including the only 3-pointer for Memphis out of six long-range shots.

Spurlock had 10 points for the Knights. Walker and Sykes were a combined 6 of 7 from the field. That offset Clanton missing four of five shots in the half.