Memphis, TN (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Crawford highlighted a late Tigers run with a go-ahead 3-pointer as No. 21 Memphis rallied for a 72-66 victory over seventh-ranked Louisville in a wild American Athletic Conference clash at FedExForum.
Louisville appeared poised to take sole possession of first place in the AAC, only to have Memphis end the game on a 15-1 flurry to earn a sweep of the season series.
Michael Dixon Jr. scored a team-high 18 points off the bench, Geron Johnson chipped in with 15, Austin Nichols added 14 and Crawford had 12 for the Tigers (22-7, 11-5 AAC), who bounced back from a loss to Houston despite poor performances by their top two scorers.
"Everyone contributed, including all the guys on the bench," said Memphis head coach Josh Pastner, referencing to the team's 23-6 advantage in bench points. "This is a great day for Memphis Tiger basketball."
Montrezl Harrell led the Cardinals with 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Russ Smith totaled 19 points, five boards and five assists while battling through foul trouble.
Louisville (24-5, 13-3) had its seven-game winning streak snapped and still sits tied with Cincinnati atop the league standings.
"These are good tournament games; we are going to be a good tournament team. I am not overly concerned," Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said. "We just have to give Memphis credit and move on and hopefully we can get them back in the conference tournament."
The Cardinals shut down Joe Jackson and Shaq Goodwin to a combined eight points on 2-of-18 shooting. The duo came in averaging 14.4 and 12.6 points per game, respectively.
Nevertheless, Louisville wound up on the losing end after missing its final eight shots from the floor and two of its last three free throw attempts.
The Cardinals' final bucket came on a Harrell cleanup off the offensive glass, which gave them a 65-57 cushion with 4:46 to go.
Memphis countered with the next 12 points.
Smith, after sitting for nearly eight minutes following his fourth foul, turned the ball on his first possession back, and Johnson put in a layup to even things at 65-65.
Following Chris Jones' badly missed 3-point try, Crawford drilled the deciding 3-pointer from the top of the key with 1:40 to go, and the Tigers' defense made the lead hold.
Memphis opened the game with six straight points, but Smith kept the Cardinals close as he scored 14 of the their first 20 points.
A Harrell jumped tied it up at 30 with under three minutes left in the half, which the Tigers ended on a 7-1 run, highlighted by Jackson bouncing an outlet pass to Johnson for a dunk in transition.
The visitors uncharacteristically committed nine turnovers in the first half, digging themselves a hole they quickly dug out of with a strong 13-4 start coming out of the locker room.
Jones' jumper less than four minutes in gave Louisville its first lead, 42-41, and even though Memphis forced its way into the bonus just 7:33 into the second half, the Tigers did not get over the hump until the late run.
Memphis has yet to lose back-to-back games this season ... Louisville dropped its first conference road game and fell to 1-5 against ranked opponents ... The Cardinals finished with 14 turnovers while forcing 16 ... Louisville plays at SMU and hosts UConn to close out the regular season next week, while Memphis visits Cincinnati prior to its finale against SMU.