Memphis edges UTEP to remain unbeatenFeb 2, 2008 - 9:56 PM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Memphis had to work hard to keep a pair of streaks intact.
Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 24 points and the top-ranked Tigers made the key plays down the stretch en route to a 70-64 victory over Texas-El Paso in a Conference USA matchup Saturday.
Derrick Rose added 17 points for the the Tigers (21-0, 7-0 C-USA), who extended the nation's longest homecourt winning streak to 44 games.
Memphis, the nation's lone unbeaten team, also won its 30th straight conference victory. However, the latest victory was anything but easy.
Roberts' basket with 2 1/2 minutes remaining snapped a tie and gave Memphis the lead for good at 62-60. With 50 seconds to go, Rose - a sensational freshman - made a tough fadeaway in the lane for a 65-62 advantage.
The Tigers were able to win despite some woeful shooting. They made just 1-of-17 attempts from 3-point range and went 19-of-39 at the free-throw line.
"I'm disappointed in some of our players who didn't play as well as I would have figured but we found a way to win that game," Memphis coach John Calipari said.
"It's incredible. We can't make a free throw, we missed 20. We're one for 17 at the the three-point line. At the end of the game we had five guys in the lane. They're throwing threes from a rafter and you still figure out how to win a game."
Stefon Jackson scored 27 points for UTEP (13-7, 4-3), which was facing a top-ranked team for the first time 1979. The Miners' last win over a No. 1 team came against Kentucky in the national championship game in 1966.
Using a variety of defensive looks, the Miners stayed in the game the entire way, never trailing by more than seven points.
"It was a great effort, but normal victories here," said Miners coach Tony Barbee, who played under Calipari at Massachusetts. "We played well and expected to win. You cannot miss when you have opportunities and we missed a lot of close buckets near the end."
Marvin Kilgore added 10 points for the Miners, who shot 39 percent (24-of-62) and committed 16 turnovers.
An upset also looked like a distinct possibility after Randy Mueller hit a 3-pointer with 3:44 remaining to give the Miners a 60-58 lead.
Rose, who scored 13 points in the second half, made a layup 13 seconds later to tie it.
After Jackson, the conference's leading scorer committed a turnover, Douglas-Roberts converted on the other end to put the Tigers ahead for good.
Douglas-Roberts sank two 3-pointers and a jumper in a 10-0 run in the first half, which gave the Tigers a 27-23 lead. They settled for a 32-28 advantage at the break.
- NCAA BB
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
UTEP 28 36 64
MEMPHIS (1) 32 38 70 FINAL
Feb 2 3:13 PM
- NCAA BB
(1) MEMPHIS 32 HALFTIME
Feb 2 1:52 PM
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