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Goodwin leads No. 23 Memphis past Houston, 82-59

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CLAY BAILEY | January 23, 2014 10:33 PM EST | AP

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Shaq Goodwin had 20 points, Joe Jackson added 18 points and seven assists, and No. 23 Memphis jumped out to an early lead in an 82-59 victory over Houston on Thursday night.

The Tigers (14-4, 4-2 American Athletic Conference) never trailed and led by 17 in the first half of their fourth win in five games.

Meanwhile, the Cougars (11-8, 3-3) have lost three of four.

TaShawn Thomas led Houston with 14 points and Brandon Morris added 13. LeRon Barnes finished with 10 points, connecting on all four shots from the field.

L.J. Rose had 10 assists for the Cougars, who shot 42.6 percent and committed 18 turnovers.

Memphis had 15 turnovers but overcame them with 59 percent shooting. The Tigers held a 48-36 advantage in the paint and outrebounded Houston 33-28.

Memphis, which lost its previous two conference home games to Cincinnati and Connecticut, dominated the first half — particularly inside — and shot 61 percent before the break. That helped the Tigers open a 17-point advantage before taking a 47-32 lead into halftime.

Goodwin, who scored 16 in the half, was free inside on numerous occasions, leading to a handful of dunks. Michael Dixon complemented Goodwin's inside game by missing only one of his five shots in the opening 20 minutes. He connected on both 3-pointers and scored 11 of his 13 points in the first half.

Houston was struggling in most facets, hitting at a 40 percent clip but missing seven of its eight shots from long range. The Cougars also committed 11 turnovers and appeared out of sync through much of the half.

Thomas, the team's leading scorer at 16.7 points per game, had seven and hit all three of his shots from the floor.

Memphis maintained its large lead throughout the second half as Houston was never really able to make much of a dent.