The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

March 9, 2013

No. 25 Memphis tops UAB 86-71 in Conference USA


Associated Press



MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Joe Jackson had 17 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds on Saturday to help No. 25 Memphis complete an undefeated season in Conference USA with an 86-71 victory over UAB.

Chris Crawford led Memphis scorers with 20 points, hitting 5 of 10 shots beyond the arc, while Geron Johnson had 19 points.

Senior D.J. Stephens, playing in his last home game, finished with 13 points and eight rebounds as Memphis (27-4, 16-0 C-USA) won its third straight and 21st in the last 22.

Jackson also had six steals in the game.

Jordan Swing led the Blazers (15-16, 7-9) with 19 points, despite hitting only one of his six shots from beyond the arc, while Rod Rucker scored 16 points.

Quincy Taylor finished with 12 points as the Blazers lost their second straight.

UAB, which trailed by as many as 17 in the first half, opened the second half with a 16-2 run, capped by Swing's only 3-pointer of the game to pull within 45-44.

But Stephens converted a 3-point play for Memphis, Jackson connected on a 3-pointer, and Memphis continued to pull away, eventually building the advantage to 24 with just under 3 minutes to play.

Memphis coach Josh Pastner began emptying his bench at that point, but did leave in Jackson in the hope of getting one more rebound for a triple-double, which remained elusive.

Both teams shot at least 50 percent in the second half, but struggled with ball handling in the game - UAB committing 19 turnovers, compared to 18 for the Tigers.

Memphis used defense and 3-point shooting to carry a 43-28 lead into the locker room. Johnson had 14 points for Memphis, while Crawford scored 10 points, going 3 of 6 from outside the arc, part of Memphis shooting 55 percent from long range.

Rucker had 10 points for UAB, but was 4 of 11 from the field. He finished the game 7 of 16 from the field.

UAB was stymied in the first half by hitting 37 percent, missing 5 of its 6 shots from outside the arc and committing a dozen turnovers.

The Blazers trailed 31-24 with just under 4 minutes left in the half when Rucker hit a pair of free throws.

Memphis closed the half on a 12-4 rally to take the lead to as many as 17 in the closing minute of the half.