MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 17 points,
and No. 4 Memphis overcame a strong defensive effort by UTEP on
Wednesday night with a 66-56 victory in the matchup of the top two
teams in Conference USA.
The win was the Tigers' 14th straight and gave them (25-2, 11-0)
a two-game lead over the Miners (17-7, 9-2). UTEP lost for only the
second time in 12 games.
The Miners played most of the game without leading scorer and
rebounder John Tofi, who sprained his right knee with 8:39
remaining in the first half. Tofi, who averages 14.5 points and 9.5
rebounds, was removed on a stretcher after about a 10-minute delay.
Darius Washington scored 11 points for the Tigers, while Rodney
Carney finished with 10 on 3-of-13 shooting, including missing all
four of his 3-point attempts.
Jason Williams led UTEP with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting.
Kevin Henderson added 13 points and Stefon Jackson had 12.
Memphis built its lead to double digits with eight straight
points midway through the second half, and the Miners cut the lead
under 10 only once the rest of the way, on Miguel Ayala's 3-pointer
with 1:11 left.
Memphis led 32-24 after a first half filled with defensive
intensity on both ends.
Both teams played aggressive defense, applying pressure on
ballhandlers and cutting off passing lanes. The play caused Memphis
to shoot 37 percent in the half, while UTEP committed 12 turnovers,
half coming on Memphis steals. There were eight lead changes and
four ties in the half.
Memphis held the Miners without a field goal over the final 3:22
of the half.
Douglas-Roberts scored 10 of Memphis' first 14 points, and had
12 in the first half.