|Chris Douglas-Roberts lays in 2 of his 24 points for Memphis, which got a battle from UTEP in its closest game this season. (Nikki Boertman/Reuters)|
Texas-El Paso coach Tony Barbee almost made his years coaching at Memphis pay off. Luckily for the top-ranked Tigers, they had enough talent to overcome the inside knowledge and a horrendous shooting performance.
Chris Douglas-Roberts scored with 2:31 left to break a 60-all tie, keeping Memphis as the country's only undefeated team with a 70-64 home victory yesterday over UTEP.
"A lot of how we played is because of Tony's preparation," Memphis coach John Calipari said of Barbee, who was his assistant from 2000-06 and played for Calipari at the University of Massachusetts.
Barbee recruited some of these Memphis players and knows them well. He also runs the same offense with the Miners.
The Tigers (21-0, 7-0 Conference USA) continued their best start ever, topping the 20-win start by the 1985-86 squad. They also extended the nation's longest home-court winning streak to 44.
This was the tightest game this season for a team that had been winning league games by an average of 25.7 points.
Credit goes to Barbee and his Miners (13-7, 4-3) - though Barbee refused to accept a moral victory.
"You cannot miss when you have opportunities, and we missed a lot of close buckets near the end," Barbee said.
The teams swapped the lead five times with nine ties, and Randy Culpepper hit a 3-pointer that gave the Miners a 60-58 lead with 3:44 left.
Derrick Rose tied the game with a layup. Then Stefon Jackson, the league's leading scorer, missed a shot, got his own rebound, and turned it over by walking under the basket. Douglas-Roberts (team-high 24 points) then scored to put Memphis ahead to stay.
Kansas 72, Colorado 59 - The No. 2 Jayhawks (21-1, 6-1 Big 12) started slow in Boulder, Colo., but put away the game Buffaloes (9-12, 1-6) behind 18 points from Darnell Jackson.
Duke 88, Miami 73 - DeMarcus Nelson scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half, when the third-ranked Blue Devils (19-1, 7-0 ACC) blew past the Hurricanes (15-6, 2-5) in Durham, N.C., for their ninth straight win.
UCLA 82, Arizona 60 - At Los Angeles, Kevin Love powered his way to 26 points and 11 rebounds and the No. 5 Bruins (20-2, 8-1 Pac-10) rolled over the Wildcats (15-7, 5-4).
Georgetown 73, Seton Hall 61 - At Washington, Jessie Sapp had 17 points, Patrick Ewing Jr. scored 11 of his career-high 16 in the second half, and the No. 6 Hoyas (18-2, 8-1 Big East) overcame an uneven performance against the Pirates (15-7, 5-4) for their fifth straight victory.
Tennessee 76, Mississippi St. 71 - After building a big second-half lead, Chris Lofton (20 points) and the No. 7 Volunteers (19-2, 6-1 SEC) held on to beat the Bulldogs (14-7, 5-2) in Starkville, Miss.
Penn St. 85, Michigan St. 76 - At State College, Pa., Stanley Pringle scored 19 points and the Nittany Lions (11-10, 3-6 Big Ten) went 16 of 20 from the foul line in the closing minutes to snap a five-game winning streak for the No. 8 Spartans (19-3, 7-2).
Stanford 67, Washington St. 65 -Robin Lopez hit a spinning layup with 12 seconds left in overtime, sending the No. 14 Cardinal (18-3, 7-2) past the ninth-ranked Cougars (17-4, 5-4) in a Pac-10 tilt in Pullman, Wash.
Texas 80, Baylor 72 - The 10th-ranked Longhorns (17-4, 4-2 Big 12) escaped a big hole in the first half and put away the No. 25 Bears (16-4, 4-2) in Austin, Texas, behind 20 points from A.J. Abrams and 17 from Damion Jones.
Xavier 75, La Salle 62 - C.J. Anderson's 16 points paced six double-figure scorers for the 15th-ranked Musketeers (18-4, 6-1 Atlantic 10), who struggled to put away the Explorers (8-12, 3-4) in Cincinnati.
Drake 83, Indiana St. 77 - Adam Emmenecker scored a season-high 20 points, and the No. 16 Bulldogs (20-1, 11-0 Missouri Valley) dealt the Sycamores (10-11, 5-6) their first home loss.
Marquette 75, Cincinnati 60 - Lazar Hayward had 19 points, 14 in the second half as the No. 17 Golden Eagles (16-4, 6-3) earned their first road win in the Big East.
UConn 60, Pittsburgh 53 - At Hartford, the surging Huskies (16-5, 6-3 Big East) picked up their fifth straight victory as A.J. Price spearheaded the win over the No. 18 Panthers (17-5, 5-4) with 21 points.
Vanderbilt 78, Auburn 71 - A.J. Ogilvy had 19 points and the 19th-ranked Commodores (18-3, 3-4 SEC) broke a two-game skid by holding off the Tigers (12-8, 2-5) in Nashville.
Arkansas 80, Florida 61 - The host Razorbacks (16-5, 5-2 SEC) played a near flawless first half and raced to a 25-point lead at the break against the No. 20 Gators (18-4, 5-2). Sonny Weems led Arkansas with 17 points.
Saint Mary's 86, Portland 49 - The No. 21 Gaels (18-3, 5-1 West Coast) earned their first win as a ranked team since the 1988-89 season, getting 20 points from Ian O'Leary in Moraga, Calif.
Missouri 77, Kansas St. 74 - J.T. Tiller scored a career-high 20 points, including two key free throws with six seconds left, helping the host Tigers (13-9, 3-4 Big 12) shock the No. 22 Wildcats (15-5, 6-1), who followed up their upset of Kansas with a poor effort.
Texas A&M 60, Oklahoma 52 - Joseph Jones had 18 points for the No. 23 Aggies (18-4, 4-3 Big 12), who survived a defensive battle with the Sooners (15-6, 3-3) in College Station, Texas.
South Carolina 80, Mississippi 77 - Dominique Archie (20 points) hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5.9 seconds left to lift the visiting Gamecocks (11-10, 2-5 SEC) past the No. 24 Rebels (16-4, 3-4).
San Francisco 85, Pepperdine 82 - Eddie Sutton became just the fifth Division 1 coach to win 800 games as the Dons came back from a 19-point second-half deficit on the road. Danny Cavic made a 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds left to give the 71-year-old Sutton the milestone victory in his fourth attempt. Bob Knight, Dean Smith, Adolph Rupp, and Jim Phelan are the other coaches with 800 wins.