for this game

Memphis tops UAB, keeps streaks intact

Feb 27, 2009 - 6:47 AM BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Ticker) -- Alabama-Birmingham once again gave Memphis all it could handle - but the Tigers' winning streaks are still alive.

Doneal Mack scored 17 points and Antonio Anderson had 16 as fourth-ranked Memphis won its 55th straight game in Conference USA with a 71-60 victory over UAB on Thursday.

Robert Dozier had 15 points and 10 rebounds and Shawn Taggart had 13 and 11 for Memphis (25-3, 13-0 C-USA), which has won its last 19 contests overall. The win also gave the Tigers their fourth straight regular-season conference crown.

"The major thing for this team compared to any team I had was (their toughness)," Tigers coach John Calipari told The Memphis Commercial Appeal. "Were we going to be mentally and physically tough enough to compete at the highest level? I guess we're proving we are."

The Tigers were visiting the site of their last conference loss, an 80-74 setback on March 2, 2006. UAB blew a seven-point lead with under two minutes left in a 79-78 home loss to Memphis last season, and the Blazers looked primed to bring the streak to an end for much of this contest.

UAB used a 9-0 run - capped by Lawrence Kinnard's fourth 3-pointer - to take a 43-42 lead with 12:49 left.

Both teams traded baskets for the next several minutes before Dozier's three-point play gave Memphis a 54-50 advantage with 5:37 to play.

The Tigers held on as Anderson and Taggart each made a pair of free throws and Mack capped a 7-0 burst with a 3-pointer to give Memphis a 63-55 lead with 2:37 to play. Anderson made a 3-pointer from the left corner that scraped the side of the backboard before going in on Memphis' next possession, giving the Tigers a nine-point advantage.

"It feels good to win it here," Anderson told the newspaper. "We let everybody talk. We don't get into the trash talking, never did. We just let them talk and let them talk and that puts all the pressure on them. We came out with a tough victory. It was close at half and we made our run."

Kinnard finished with 25 points to lead UAB (19-9, 9-4), which literally got nothing from its leading scorer, Robert Vaden. The conference's fourth-leading scorer at 18.6 points per contest, Vaden was 0-for-17 from the floor, including 0-for-12 from the arc.

After a back-and-forth opening 13 minutes, Mack capped a 9-0 run as Memphis took a 23-16 lead with 5:38 left in the first half.

UAB fought back and Paul Delaney III and Kinnard made consecutive 3-pointers to give the Blazers a 26-25 edge with just over two minutes left in the half. The teams went into the locker rooms knotted at 28-28.

Memphis started fast in the second half and took a 42-34 lead on Mack's layup with 15:41 to play.

Delaney finished with 18 points for the Blazers, who had their six-game winning streak snapped.

Freshman Tyreke Evans, who leads Memphis in scoring, had just eight points on 3-of-14 shooting and committed nine turnovers.

"We always have somebody we can count on if anybody else is struggling," Dozier told the Commercial Appeal. "We don't hesitate to throw him the ball. Any guy who's open and getting his shots and has it going, we're going to get it to him. We're going to find a way."