Tigers Outlast Blazers, 85-75
Feb. 3, 2010
Preston McClellan, Undergraduate Assistant -
MEMPHIS, Tenn.--Wesley Witherspoon scored a career-high 29 points to lead the Memphis Tigers (16-6; 6-2 C-USA) to a hard-fought 85-75 victory over the UAB Blazers (18-4; 6-2 C-USA) Wednesday night at FedExForum.
"What an unbelievable effort. It was awesome," said Memphis head coach Josh Pastner. "Fantastic. They battled for 40 minutes and left it on the floor for 40 minutes. I am so proud of them."
Elliot Williams was the only other Tiger in double figures, notching an efficient 25 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Williams also knocked in 11-of-12 from the charity stripe.
Will Coleman provided a huge spark off the bench for the Tigers, grabbing nine boards in 25 minutes. Coleman also had four points and a career-high seven blocks.
His seven blocks tie him for seventh in the program's history. The all-time single game high is nine blocks held by David Vaughn (1993) and Keith Lee (1981).
Both teams got off to rough starts, each shooting under 30 percent in the first 10 minutes of the contest. Thanks to a hot shooting half from Jamarr Sanders, UAB took a 32-31 lead into the break. Sanders scored 14 points in the opening half and went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Memphis appeared to be ready to pull away early into the second half when a trifecta by Roburt Sallie put the Tigers ahead 50-44 and forced UAB to call timeout.
The Blazers responded, however, with an 8-0 run of their own to take the lead 52-50 with 11:19 remaining. The teams would then trade buckets until two free throws by UAB's George Drake tied the game at 69 with 3:53 remaining.
Witherspoon then took over, scoring six unanswered to put Memphis ahead 75-69 with just over a minute left to play.
With the Tigers leading 79-71 with 43 seconds left, Williams grabbed a big time rebound and pushed the ball upcourt. Williams then flicked a behind-the-back pass to a streaking Doneal Mack for a monster slam that got the 16, 518 fans on their feet at FedExForum.
All five starters for UAB notched double figures, but the Blazers only got six points from its bench. Elijah Millsap scored 18 and Sanders chipped in 16, including 14 in the first half. Aaron Johnson scored 12 points and dished out eight assists, but also recorded nine turnovers.
Memphis tied its second-highest total for made free-throws with 25. The Tigers hit 25 from the charity stripe against Rice and 30 in the season opener against Jackson State.Memphis' 54 second-half points ties the season high for most points scored in a single half. The Tigers also scored 54 second-half points against UALR.