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MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Memphis' faster, more pressing approach made a successful season debut.
The 13th-ranked Tigers forced 22 turnovers, had six players score in double figures and routed Austin Peay 95-69 in their season opener Thursday night.
Joe Jackson had 16 points and seven assists as Memphis (1-0) shot 54 percent from the field and had the Governors (1-1) off balance the entire game.
"All over the floor, looking like maniacs," said guard Geron Johnson, who had 11 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. "That's literally what (the press) does. It causes havoc for the other team. That havoc causes the other team to be undisciplined and make passes they usually wouldn't."
Michael Dixon Jr. was 5 of 7 from the field and scored 15 points for Memphis, while Nick King had 13 points and Chris Crawford finished with 11 points.
Ed Dyson scored 11 points to lead the Governors and Zavion Williams and Chris Freeman added 10 each.
Memphis coach Josh Pastner had promised a more frenetic, pressing pace for the Tigers this season, and opening night lived up to the previews. Memphis pressed the entire game.
"The job is to get them to turn the ball over in the frontcourt so we can get into a fast-paced game," Jackson said. "It's really not even about them scoring to tell you the truth. You just want to get a fast pace. "
Memphis had its own turnover problems with 21 in its uptempo approach, but it wasn't nearly as damaging as Austin Peay's. Memphis had 27 points off turnovers, compared to 14 for the Governors.
Memphis outrebounded the Governors 50-27. The 22 turnovers by Austin Peay, included four steals each from Dixon and Crawford.
Austin Peay coach Dave Loos acknowledged his team may have been intimidated.
"They can score a lot of points on you in a hurry," Loos said. "They just annihilated us on the boards. I was impressed with their rebounding and the way they stayed after it. They keep constant pressure on you. Their press dealt us a fit. "
By the end of the first half, Memphis had dominated the Governors for a 51-29 lead behind all 15 of Dixon's points. Dixon missed only one of his six first-half shots. Crawford already had 11 points, including connecting on 3 of 5 from 3-point range.
Austin Peay continually struggled with the Tigers' pressure, committing 13 turnovers in the half and shooting 40 percent. Loos said the Governors inability to work the ball inside was a factor in a lot of Austin Peay's offensive woes.
"We've got to throw it (inside) some," Loos said. "It was all run, shoot and holler from our guards. I know we're faster. I know we're athletic, but you've got to play basketball, and we didn't do that."
The Tigers extended the lead early in the second half, again forcing turnovers and running. In the first 4 minutes, Memphis pulled away to a 62-35 lead.
The lead eventually stretched to 33 points as Memphis never relented on the press.
"In the second half, we got loosey-goosey," Pastner said. "I just thought we got unsound. .We've got to cut down on our turnovers. When you press like we press, you're going to have some turnovers, but we can't have as many as we had."