No. 3 Memphis forges past determined UAB squad

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)-- Some of the best defense UAB could muster
wasn't good enough against Memphis.

Darius Washington scored 26 points and Rodney Carney added 19
Thursday night as the No. 3 Tigers overcame the Blazers' defensive
pressure in a 73-66 victory.

"We mixed and matched our defense; some zone, some man," UAB
coach Mike Anderson said. "I thought we did defend. They only shot
37 percent, but the thing about them is they are so long and
athletic, they would just go get it."

Memphis (18-2, 4-0) moved into a tie with UTEP for the lead in
Conference USA, while the Blazers (14-4, 4-1) fell a half-game

The loss snapped UAB's 10-game winning streak and its run of
eight straight regular-season conference wins.

Washington was 9-of-18 from the field, including 6-of-11 on
3-pointers. Joey Dorsey added 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 -- though the Tigers struggled to

"We were 13-for-36 from 2 feet. I'll give it 2 feet," Memphis
coach John Calipari said. "Whether it was because of a bump, a
grab, a hold, we were 13-of-36. That's the thing right now that's
holding us back a little bit.

"We had 25 offensive rebounds. You understand that means you've
got the ball 2 feet from the rim. We just missed a ton of them."

Paul Delaney, who entered the game averaging 7.6 points, scored
17 to lead the Blazers. Marvett McDonald and Wen Mukubu each added

"[Delaney] could be a starter instantly, but I want him to come
in and give us some energy off that bench with his quickness and
his athletic ability," Anderson said. "He was the spark. You've
got to go to that bench and find somebody. You hope you've got more
than one there. Maybe two or three."

The game lived up to 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 8-3 down the stretch,
including a powerful 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 deficit and eventually lead with just over
13 minutes left.

"It's kind of hectic," Carney said of the UAB pressure. "You
really have to slow down and look for your teammates. You can't be
out of control out there. If you are out of control, they are going
to strip the ball from you, steal it and take charges."

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 as the
Tigers eventually built the 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.

"It's one of those things. We get them down 13, and it's,
'Let's go. Let's go," Calipari said. "We go the wrong way. We
kind of back up and go half speed."

The Blazers closed the half with a 10-4 run, leaving the Tigers
with a 36-31 lead at the break.

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.

While Memphis would eventually regain the lead, UAB stayed
within six points until the final minute.

"When you beat a team on a 10-game win streak, that's a great
win," Calipari said. "We had chances to get it to 16, 18, 20 and
we're just not capable of it yet."