Saturday, January 7, 2012

Tigers 62, UAB 59

Posted By on Sat, Jan 7, 2012 at 10:20 PM

Hall of Fame coach Gene Bartow had his rooting interest challenged whenever Memphis played UAB. It's fitting, then, that the two programs he coached played such a tightly fought affair four days after his passing. After more than 15 lead changes, the Tigers pulled away over the game's final three minutes, but secured the game only after a blocked shot and steal — on two separate plays — with less than two seconds on the clock.

Clinging to a three point lead after Wesley Witherspoon missed two free throws with 16 seconds left, UAB's Jordan Swing had his attempt from beyond the arc blocked by both Witherspoon and Chris Crawford. After Witherspoon turned the ball over on an in-bounds play, the Blazers had one last chance — with .4 of a second showing — but couldn't get off a final shot.

The win extends the Tigers' winning streak to a season-high four games and improves their record to 10-5 (1-0 in Conference USA play). Will Barton led Memphis with 16 points and 10 rebounds — his eighth double-double of the season — while freshman Adonis Thomas added 15 points.

Tiger big men Tarik Black and Ferrakohn Hall each got into foul trouble, largely from having to guard C-USA preseason Player of the Year Cameron Moore. Moore finished with a game-high 20 points but mishandled the ball inside the final minute of play with the contest still in doubt. The senior Witherspoon assumed the role of defending Moore after Hall fouled out with nine minutes to play.

Swing hit five three-pointers for UAB and scored 19 points.

Tonight's game represented the third-annual Bartow Classic, an event that raises funds and awareness in the fight against cancer, the disease that claimed Bartow's life last Tuesday.

The Tigers return to FedExForum to host Southern Miss next Wednesday. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.

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