Jan. 26, 2006
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Darius Washington scored 26 points and Rodney Carney added 19 Thursday night as No. 3 Memphis overcame UAB's defensive pressure and defeated the Blazers 73-66.
Memphis (18-2, 4-0) moved into a tie with UTEP for the lead in the Conference USA standings, while the Blazers (14-4, 4-1) fell a half game back.
The loss snapped UAB's 10-game winning streak and its run of eight straight regular season conference wins.
Washington connected on 9-of-18 shots, including 6-of-11 on 3-pointers. Joey Dorsey scored 12 points, 16 rebounds, including 10 offensive boards, and four blocks. Shawne Williams finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, as Memphis dominated the boards 54-34.
Paul Delaney, who entered the game averaging 7.6 points, scored 17 to lead the Blazers. Marvett McDonald and Wen Mukubu added 12 each for UAB.
The game lived up to the expectations from two of Conference USA's top teams.
The Blazers were within 65-63 after Squeaky Johnson's 3-pointer with 1:47 left, but Memphis outscored UAB down the stretch 8-3, including a thunderous dunk by Carney to punctuate the Tigers' seventh straight win.
UAB gave the Tigers a heavy dose of the pressure defense for which it is known. The Blazers deflected passes, switched defenders and kept Memphis off balance through the middle stages of the game. The swatting and pestering allowed the Blazers to erase a double-digit first half margin for Memphis, and eventually led with just over 13 minutes left.
While Memphis would eventually regain the lead, UAB stayed within six points until the final minute.
Memphis appeared to solve the Blazers' defensive pressure early by going over the top from long range. Carney and Washington connected for 3-pointers while Dorsey controlled the boards and converted second chance points, eventually building the Tiger lead to 13.
But UAB's pressure began paying dividends in the final seven minutes of the first half. Memphis appeared confused and out of sync. The pressure and traps resulted in lazy passes and standing around by the Tigers.
The Blazers cut into an 11-point Memphis lead, closing the half with a 10-4 run and leaving the Tigers with a 36-31 lead at the break.
Washington had 13 to lead Memphis.
As the second half opened, the Blazers continued the frenzied pace on defense forcing some of Memphis' 19 turnovers. That allowed UAB to stay close, cutting the Tigers lead to two twice in the first 6 minutes before overtaking Memphis on five straight points from Delaney with 13:07 left.