CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Saint Louis is inching closer to its ultimate goal. Memphis can only wonder where it is headed.
Reggie Bryant scored 18 points and Izik Ohanon added 14 as Saint Louis posted a 72-61 triumph over No. 24 Memphis in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament at U.S. Bank Arena.
Saint Louis (18-11) built on its opening-round win over Southern Mississippi and faces third-seeded Cincinnati in the semifinals. The Billikens probably need to win the conference title to guarantee a berth in the NCAA Tournament.
But Saint Louis added to its resume with a solid win over a Memphis squad that finished in a five-way tie for first place in the conference.
"Needless to say I'm very proud of these guys," Saint Louis coach Brad Soderberg said. "That's probably the best we've played in the last month and a half. Our pace frustrated them. We ran the offense the best we have in the last three weeks. But we didn't come here just to get in the semifinals."
Memphis (21-7) is all but assured of a spot when the field of 65 is announced Sunday, but the Tigers head into the tournament struggling. They lost three of the last four games and continue to be a poor postseason team - falling to 4-9 all-time in the C-USA tournament.
"We just played a bad game," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "That is as bad as we played all year. But don't take anything from Saint Louis. We didn't play as a team, which we've done a couple of times this year. We just went our own way and we've shown our glaring weaknesses."
Memphis led 8-6 following a 3-pointer by freshman Sean Banks 4:15 into the contest but a three-point play by Ian Vouyoukas ignited a 20-4 burst. Josh Fisher had eight points and Bryant and Vouyoukas five apiece in the run.
"We had multiple breakdowns on defense and just looked bad on defense," Memphis forward Rodney Carney said. "Hopefully, we can regroup for the tournament."
The Tigers battled back and drew even, 45-45, with 8:13 left in the game. Duane Erwin missed two chances in the paint to give Memphis the lead and Ohanon gave the Billikens the lead for good. Anthony Drejaj buried a 3-pointer and Bryant made it a seven-point cushion with a jumper off a feed from Fisher.
Drejaj fed Ohanon for a dunk with 5:47 to go and Ohanon made it 56-45 with two free throws 29 seconds later and Memphis never got it to single digits.
"We told the guys it was 0-0 and it was an eight-minute game with a chance to go to the semifinals of the Conference USA tournament, and they responded," Soderberg said.