for this game

Evans comes up big as Memphis edges rival Tennessee

Jan 25, 2009 - 3:58 AM KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (Ticker) -- When it needed some offense the most, Memphis' youngest star stepped up.

Tyreke Evans scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half as No. 24 Memphis topped intra-state rival Tennessee, 54-52, in a non-conference clash on Saturday.

Antonio Anderson and Doneal Mack added 10 points apiece for the Tigers (16-3), who won their 10th straight game. Memphis also snapped a four-game losing streak against Tennessee in Knoxville.

"What I told the guys was it was going to be a war," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "I watched the tape from last year, and it was a war. It was not basketball, it was hand-to-hand combat. So we worked all week and that is what it was."

Trailing 53-52 with 20 seconds left, the Volunteers had a chance to move in front but Tyler Smith was forced into a tough leaner just inside the free-throw line.

"It is difficult to look at the box score and see Tyler Smith had 18 shots and know they were all closely contested," Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl said. "Our opponents will continue to collapse on us, and until we make some jump shots, it will continue to happen."

Evans, a freshman, tracked down the rebound with 4.6 seconds left. It was one of eight rebounds for the 6-6 Evans, who entered the game averaging 5.2.

The Tigers were then fouled on consecutive inbounds plays. Evans made his first free throw before intentionally missing the second to run time off the clock.

The Volunteers (12-6) called their final timeout with 1.1 seconds left, but a long inbound pass to Josh Tabb and his heave from near the right side fell well short of the rim as time expired.

"We just wanted to win a tough game, and we came up with some 50-50 balls for the first time this year," Calipari said. "It is what we need to build on now, because if we are truly going to be what we are trying to be - win the national title - we just have to get tougher. We have got to make those kind of plays."

Evans ended up 7-of-16 from the field in bouncing back from a five-point effort against Rice on Wednesday in which he was plagued by fouls.

Beside the contest against Rice and another five-point game against Syracuse in December, Evans has scored in double figures every other contest.

Wayne Chism had 15 points and six rebounds for Tennessee, which dropped to 3-4 in its last seven games.

Despite the win, Memphis did have its issues offensively, going more than nine minutes with only one field goal in the second half.

The Tigers took a 42-34 lead on Evans' layup with 15:41 remaining before missing 10 of their next 11 shots. The Volunteers tied the score at 45-45 before Anderson converted a layup with 7:40 to play.

Evans added a jumper and a layup as Memphis put together a 7-0 run after finding itself tied, but Tennessee crawled back within 51-50 on Chism's 3-pointer with 3:57 remaining.

The only basket from the arc for the game by Chism capped a stellar sequence, as the junior forward drew an offensive foul on Shawn Taggart on the defensive end right before.

"People will realize one of these days Wayne Chism is a pretty good player, and he deserves some respect," Pearl said.

After both teams had an empty possession, Evans completed a sweeping layup for a 53-50 edge with 2:53 left.

Chism answered back with two free throws, but that would be the final points for the Volunteers, who missed their final four shots.

Although it could not score again, Tennessee did clamp down defensively, forcing Memphis to come up short on its last four attempts. A big highlight during that stand was J.P. Prince, who came from out of position to block Robert Dozier's two-handed dunk attempt with 2:10 left, keeping it a one-point game.

Prince finished with two blocks along with 10 points for the Volunteers, who shot 33 percent (18-of-55) in the contest. The Tigers finished 34 percent (19-of-56) from the floor.

Tennessee's leading scorer, Smith finished with 13 points, going 5-of-18 from the field. He also grabbed 10 rebounds, six on the offensive end.

However, Smith could only get one of those offensive boards after halftime.

"The key, I thought, was offensive rebounding," Calipari said. "In the first half, Tyler Smith gets five; in the second half, he gets one. If he gets five, we lose the game, and Robert Dozier did a better job of making sure he did not get them."