Memphis-UAB has to be the best lopsided rivalry in college basketball.
The Tigers won their 10th straight over the Blazers, but needed overtime to become the first team to knock off UAB at Bartow Arena this season. Senior point guard Aaron Johnson had a chance to win the game for UAB with eight seconds left, but missed his second free throw after tying the game at 68. A desperation heave by Tiger freshman Will Barton dropped through the net six seconds later, but was waved off when Barton was called for traveling.
Memphis held UAB scoreless over the first four minutes of overtime, taking a 73-68 lead behind buckets from Antonio Barton and Will Barton (and a free throw from Antonio). The Tigers held on despite missing four straight free throws over the game’s final 18 seconds. Jamarr Sanders misfired on a three-point attempt as time expired, the last of 21 such attempts to go astray for the Blazers (they made two). Cameron Moore led UAB with 24 points and 11 rebounds.
Will Barton led the Tigers with 17 points off the bench and his brother Antonio, with 16. Tarik Black added 15 points and Will Coleman 13. Virtually the entire overtime was played with a four-freshman lineup on the floor for Memphis (the Barton brothers, Black, Chris Crawford, and Coleman, a senior). Memphis improves to 15-4 (4-1 in Conference USA play).
The Tigers return home for a tilt with UCF next Wednesday, tip-off at 7 p.m.
(The Blazers will face the Tigers at FedExForum on February 16th.)