Memphis holds on to stay perfect in conference play
El Paso, TX (Sports Network) - Chris Crawford scored 15 points and Adonis Thomas added 11 points and nine boards as No. 25 Memphis held on for a 56-54 win over UTEP on Tuesday.
The Tigers (26-4, 15-0 C-USA) led 56-51 following Tarik Black's slam with 2:21 left.
Cedrick Lang cut the Miners' deficit to 56-53 with a pair of free throws 30 seconds later. Following a Thomas miss, Jacques Streeter was fouled by Black with 52 seconds left, but missed the subsequent free throws.
Crawford's layup with 20 seconds left was blocked, giving the Miners one last chance to tie the game. Following a timeout, C.J. Cooper pulled out from well beyond the arc, but was inexplicably fouled by Black with just six seconds remaining.
Cooper, though, missed the first free then sunk the second before intentionally missing the third in an attempt to get the rebound and tie the game. Black grabbed the rebound and was fouled immediately.
Black missed the front end of a one-and-one but a pair of UTEP players knocked the ball out of bounds with just over two seconds left, all but sealing the win for Memphis.
Geron Johnson tossed the ball near half court, but Streeter picked off the pass and dribbled alone toward the basket before hoisting a desperation heave. Streeter's shot didn't fall at the buzzer as Memphis remained perfect in conference play this season.
Julian Washburn led the Miners (16-13, 9-6) with 19 points and Cedrick Lang added 10 points and seven boards in the setback.
The teams traded baskets over most of the first half, but the Tigers managed to take a 14-10 lead following a Joe Jackson free throw. Konner Tucker, though, drained a 3-pointer to pull UTEP within 14-13.
Memphis once again opened up a small lead following Thomas' layup with 7 1/2 minutes left, but McKenzie Moore pulled the Miners within 18-17 with 6:10 left in the first half.
Crawford's dunk at the 3:15 mark made it 22-19, but the Miners managed to hold the Tigers scoreless and went into the break tied 22-22.
Shaq Goodwin split a pair of free throws with nearly nine minutes gone in the second half to put Memphis up 40-34, but UTEP countered with an 8-0 run to go up 42-40 with 8:56 remaining.
The teams went back and forth from there until Black gave the Tigers a 56-51 lead with a dunk at the 2:21 mark.
Memphis improved to 9-1 on the road this season ... The Tigers hold a 10-4 lead in the all-time series ... Memphis will end its regular season at home on Saturday when it plays host to UAB ... UTEP will travel SMU for its season finale on Saturday.
03/05 23:58:32 ET