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Jackson State falls at No. 17 Memphis, 75-61

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CLAY BAILEY | December 28, 2013 05:26 PM EST | AP

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jackson State coach Wayne Brent figured his freshman guards would have trouble against experienced No. 17 Memphis, and he was right.

Jackson State dealt with turnover issues and shooting woes in a 75-61 loss to Memphis on Saturday.

Julysses Nobles led Jackson State with 20 points, while Brandon West added 14 points, including 12 in the first half, when he was most of the team's early offense.

The problem for Jackson State (4-8) was facing defensive pressure from Memphis, which boasts four senior guards. The defense contributed to 20 Jackson State turnovers — 10 in each half. Even Nobles, a senior, struggled from the field, shooting 6 for 16.

"They've got four senior guards that can really, really pressure the basketball," Brent said of Memphis. "We've probably got four freshman guards out there on the floor. They are just not ready for that kind of pressure."

Jackson State tried to stay close, but each time its rally was answered by a Memphis burst to extend the lead again. When Jackson State got within nine early in the second half, Memphis scored 12 consecutive points.

Jackson State got within 11 near the 4-minute mark, but three turnovers and six straight Memphis points put an end to Jackson State's hopes.

"I don't think we could have won, but we could have cut the gap to maybe seven or six, and then anything can happen," Brent said.

Michael Dixon scored 14 points, while Shaq Goodwin had 13 points and seven rebounds to lead Memphis, which never trailed.

"The key was to apply pressure to them," Goodwin said. "We knew that everybody on their team had a high turnover-to-assist ratio. .We figured out if we apply pressure, they'll turn it over."

David Pellom had 12 points with all five of his field goals coming off dunks from fast-breaks and rebounds, and Joe Jackson scored 11 for Memphis (9-2). Jackson and Dixon, along with Geron Johnson and Chris Crawford, comprise the quartet of senior guards.

Memphis led by as many as 19 before the break, then eased to its eighth win in nine games.

"I thought (Memphis) did a good job of staying in their press because we have so many young guys," Brent said. "I thought that was the difference because they got a couple of turnovers when we cut the lead to nine."

Memphis had 31 points off the Jackson State turnovers and finished with a 45-35 rebounding edge, including 18 off the offensive boards.

Memphis went on an early 10-0 run, holding Jackson State scoreless for almost 6 minutes, contributing to a 40-28 Memphis advantage at halftime.

Jackson State shot 39 percent in the first half, even with West missing only one of seven shots. At one point near the 6-minute mark of the first half, West was 5 of 6 from the field, while his teammates were a combined 1 of 15.

Jackson State cut the deficit to nine points early in the second half after a putback by West. But Memphis answered with 12-0 run, Pellom connecting on a three dunks during the spree.

"I thought we got up 19, and we didn't continue to play the right way," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. "We coasted. We got loosey-goosey. We got unsound, and that ends up biting us in the butt (with turnovers)."