Tigers Claw Past UTEP, 65-47
March 8, 2012
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Joe Jackson scored a game-high 17 points and Tarik Black posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 boards to lift Memphis to a 65-47 Conference USA Tournament quarterfinal victory over UTEP Thursday at FedExForum.
Chris Crawford had a solid all-around performance with 11 points, five boards, seven assists and two steals. The seven assists tied a season best for Crawford.
John Bohannon led the Miners with 15 points and nine rebounds. Jacques Streeter was UTEP's only other double-figure scorer with 11 points. Gabriel McCulley, who was key in the Miners' upset win over Memphis Feb. 18 with nine points and 12 boards, was held to no points and four rebounds in 14 minutes before fouling out of the contest.
The Tigers led 31-26 at the break and extended their advantage to 10 points at 42-32 with 13:23 left when Memphis was assessed three technical fouls and UTEP one technical. After Jackson hit 1-of-2 charity tosses, Streeter made 4-of-6 free throws to slice the Memphis lead to 43-36 at the 12:24 mark.
Another Bohannon hoop a minute later cut the Memphis lead to six at 44-38. Memphis responded with a short 8-2 spurt to take a 52-38 lead with 6:39 left. D.J. Stephens put an exclamation point on the run with a dunk off a Crawford assist.
UTEP, though, didn't go away, answering back with a 9-2 run to cut the Tigers advantage to seven at 54-47 with only 3:51 on the clock. Four different Miners scored in the run which was capped off with a Bohannon three-point play.
That was, however, as close as UTEP got the rest of the way. Memphis closed the final 3:51 on an 11-0 spurt to seal the 65-47 victory. Black had two dunks and Crawford added a slam in the run.
In the first half, Memphis got off to a slow start and fell behind 10-2 in the game's opening three minutes. Streeter and Julian Washburn each hit a trey in the spurt.
The Tigers answered and gained their first lead of the game at 15-14 on an Antonio Barton jumper with 11:42 left before half. Memphis and UTEP continued to trade baskets over the next eight minutes, leaving the score tied at 24-all with 3:14 left.
From that point, the Tigers closed the half with a 7-2 run for the 31-26 halftime advantage. Black and Jackson each had a dunk in the closing spurt, and Antonio Barton finished it off with a steal and layup with :23 on the clock.
Memphis shot 42.6 percent from the floor and 64 percent from the free throw line. The Tigers had 18 assists on 23 made baskets and committed only nine turnovers.
The Tigers defense was the key throughout the contest. Memphis held UTEP to 34 percent from the field and 16.7 percent from the three-point line. The Tigers forced the Miners into 21 turnovers and turned them into 25 points. UTEP entered the contest averaging just over 13 miscues per game.
Memphis (24-8) returns to action Friday, Mar. 9 in the Conference USA Tournament semifinals at FedExForum. The Tigers will meet the winner of the UCF-UAB quarterfinal match-up that was played late Thursday.