Memphis Finishes Undefeated in C-USA Play With 86-71 Win Over UAB
March 9, 2013
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - The University of Memphis men's basketball team (27-4, 16-0 C-USA) held off an early second half rally from UAB (15-16, 7-9) to go undefeated in conference play for the fifth time in program history with an 86-71 win over the Blazers, Saturday.
With a 6-3 lead, Chris Crawford helped Memphis take a 17-8 advantage at 13:16 by recording seven points on an 11-5 run. UAB got back in the game by cutting its deficit to four with six-straight points to make it 22-18 at the 8:21 mark.
Memphis stretched its lead by putting together a 7-0 spurt with back-to-back buckets from Geron Johnson and two free throws from D.J. Stephens to build a 31-20 lead with 4:35 to go in the half. The Blazers brought it to seven before treys from Johnson and Crawford helped push Memphis' lead up to 43-26 with under a minute to go. UAB's Jordan Swing converted two free throws in the final seconds to make the score 43-28 going into the break.
At the half, Johnson led Memphis with 14 points while Crawford added 10 for the Tigers. Memphis picked up 12 steals in the opening period, with Joe Jackson snagging five to lead the Tigers.
Memphis missed its first five shots of the second half to allow UAB within eight before a jumper from Jackson at 16:56 ended the drought for the Tigers to make it 45-35. But the Blazers continued to chip away at the Memphis lead, as the Tigers committed three turnovers before a three from Swing cut it to 45-44 with 14:41 left. Jackson and Stephens combined for the next eight points for Memphis over the next two minutes to help the Tigers bring its lead to 53-45 with 13 minutes to play.
Johnson's third triple of the afternoon, followed by a layup from Tarik Black, extended Memphis' lead to 62-50 midway through the half. After six-straight freebies from the charity stripe and a three from Crawford, Memphis' lead stretched to 75-59 with 5:40 to play.
The Tigers continued to run away with it as a jumper from Jackson followed by Crawford's fifth trey of the game put Memphis up 86-62 with less than three minutes to go. The Blazers ended the game on a 9-0 run to make the final 86-71.
Crawford led Memphis with a season-high 20 points, going 5-for-10 from behind the arc, for his sixth-straight game in double figures. Johnson recorded 19 for the Tigers, while Jackson finished with 17 points, 10 assists, nine rebounds and six steals to record a double-double for the second time this season. Stephens also finished in double figures for Memphis, tallying 13 points and eight rebounds.
Memphis will head to Tulsa, Okla., for the Conference USA Tournament, Mar. 13-16, where the Tigers will be the No. 1 seed. The Conference USA tournament bracket will be released later Saturday night.