UTEP Stumbles to Memphis in C-USA Quarterfinals, 65-47
March 8, 2012
Memphis held UTEP to 34 percent shooting and capitalized on Miner turnovers, advancing to the C-USA Tournament semifinals with a 65-47 win on Thursday at the FedExForum.
The Tigers (24-8) scored 25 points off 21 UTEP giveaways. Memphis also outscored the Miners in fast break points 22-4.
The Tigers broke open a close game with an 8-0 run midway through the second half, extending a 44-38 lead to 52-38. Memphis also scored the game's final 11 points after UTEP closed the gap to 54-47 with 3:51 to play.
UTEP's season ends with a 15-17 record.
"Memphis has a fine team," UTEP coach Tim Floyd said. "They have great athletes. Twenty-five points off turnovers is the game. Gabe McCulley played fabulous for us over here and we couldn't keep him in the game tonight. He is a critical part of what we do."
McCulley, the Miners' lone senior, closed out his career by playing 14 minutes before fouling out.
UTEP, bidding for a third straight win over the Tigers at the FedExForum, jumped out to a 10-2 lead in the first three minutes. The Miners still led 22-20 at the five-minute mark of the first half before Memphis closed the period with an 11-4 spurt.
A jumper by Michael Perez pulled UTEP to within three points (31-28) in the first minute of the second half before the Tigers strung together nine straight points, leaving the Miners in catch-up mode.
"This is a game that you probably need a day of preparation for because of the pressure they put on you," Floyd said. "We don't see it all of the time. For the most part we took care of the ball in the backcourt, but a lot of our turnovers came at our end of the floor. Joe Jackson [five steals] had a lot to do with it."
Tarik Black had another double-double for Memphis with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Joe Jackson scored 17 points and Chris Crawford had 11. The Miners once again did a sensational job defending Tiger All-American candidate Will Barton, who finished with seven points, three rebounds and three assists. He shot 2-for-9 from the field.
UTEP made just 7-of-27 shots in the second half (25.9 percent) and missed all eight of its three-point attempts. The Miners outrebounded the Tigers 22-12 in the first half and enjoyed a slim advantage on the boards (35-33) for the night.