Memphis, TN – Tarik Black poured in a game-high 18 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead No. 17 Memphis to an 81-66 win over North Florida on Monday.
Joe Johnson had 14 points, six rebounds and five assists and Antonio Barton added 11 points of the bench for the Tigers (1-0), who were eliminated by Saint Louis in the second round of last year's NCAA Tournament.
"There were a couple things we did well, I felt that the first 25 minutes of the game we were pretty good. Let me take that back, the first few minutes of the game they hit some great shots," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. "Then the first five minutes of the second half, we scored on five of our first six possessions, we attacked."
Jerron Granberry had 14 points and Parker Smith scored 12 for the Ospreys (1-1), who defeated Edward Waters in their season opener on Saturday.
"I thought we really did a great job doing what we planned to do, what we talked about doing," North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll said. "It's what we do every time. We don't play these money games just to play for money. We come to play to win, and we were prepared to do what we had to do. Obviously our guys fought."
It was a back-and-forth game in the early portion of the first half, but the Tigers used a 20-5 burst over the final 10 1/2 minutes to bring a 47-25 lead into the break.
Memphis used a balanced scoring attack with Black netting 10 of his 18 points in the half while Barton and Chris Crawford chipped in with nine and eight respectively over the first 20 minutes.
The Tigers opened the second half on a small 10-2 run to stretch their lead to 57-27 at the 16:55 mark. The Ospreys cut it to 77-57 with four minutes left, but were only able to score nine more points the rest of the way and Memphis held on to the easy win.
Memphis is 10-1 over its last 11 home openers ... The Tigers were without guard Geron Johnson who is serving a three-game suspension for violating NCAA Rules ... Memphis started two freshman for the first time since 2005-06 season (Chris Douglas-Roberts and Shawne Williams).