MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Antonio Barton scored 20 of his 24 points in the second half, including two key free throws with 17 seconds left, as No. 21 Memphis escaped 50 percent 3-point shooting by Tennessee State in a 91-86 victory Sunday.
Tarik Black was 9 of 11 from the field and had 22 points for Memphis (11-2), while Will Barton finished with 19 points and eight rebounds.
Tennessee State (6-8), which was trying to record its first victory over a ranked team in school history, put a scare into Memphis. Tennessee State, which led most of the way, was 12 of 24 from outside the arc.
Kenny Moore led Tennessee State with 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including missing only one of his six 3-point attempts. Wil Peters finished with 17 points and seven assists, while Robert Covington had 16 points.
It was a wild game from the barrage of 3-pointers, to a last-minute argument involving both teams to Memphis guard Joe Jackson (6 points, 8 assists) missing a layup with 35 seconds left when he could have run off some clock with the lead.
Antonio Barton's free throws with 17.2 seconds left, followed by a dunk from his brother Will with 4 seconds remaining, finally gave Memphis the victory.
With just under a minute to play and Memphis leading 85-81 there was a delay as officials reviewed what happened. Antonio Barton was on a breakaway when he was fouled by Peters and the teams got together with some mouthing and pushing.
Black got off the bench and headed to the court, leading to his ejection, and there were double-technicals called on Will Barton and Tennessee State's Michael Green. Even a Memphis fan was ejected for yelling at the officials.
When the dust settled, Barton hit both free throws to give Memphis an 87-81 lead.
Antonio Barton hit all five of his 3-pointers in the second half to offset Tennessee State's accuracy.
The game was tied at 43 at halftime.
Tennessee State hit its their first five 3s, finishing the half 7 of 12.
Tennessee State went ahead by as many as eight points as Covington and Peters scored 10 apiece.
Memphis started getting inside scoring from Black (15 points in the half). He made all seven of his shots, part of Memphis shooting 56 percent in the half.
Tennessee still led 73-68 with 7 minutes left, but Memphis scored six straight points, capped by Barton's 3-pointer at the top of the key to take the lead with 5:02 left.
The teams exchanged leads and were still tied at 79 with 3:02 left, but another 3 by Antonio Barton gave Memphis the lead for good with 2:33 remaining.