Free throws send Memphis to NCAA tourney
BY Associated Press
Sunday, March 13, 2011
3/13/11 at 6:17 AM
We’ll have previews, game stories, analysis, photos, a parking map and more. Find it at tulsaworld.com/ncaaOriginal Print Headline: Memphis wins C-USA title
EL PASO, Texas - Two years after John Calipari left town, Memphis is back in the NCAA Tournament.
Joe Jackson made two free throws with 7 seconds left, and the Tigers rallied past UTEP 67-66 on Saturday to win the Conference USA championship and an automatic bid to the NCAAs.
UTEP had a final chance to win at the buzzer, but Christian Polk's jumper fell short.
"One thing about us, early in the year, we had a lot of close games," Memphis coach Josh Pastner said. "I felt that those games that we won ... were going to be good for us later on. We have found a way to win. That's a credit to the players, because the players made plays."
After Jackson's clutch shots gave the Tigers (25-9) their only lead of the game, UTEP pushed the ball up the floor and retained possession after a loose ball was knocked out of bounds by Memphis with 2.5 seconds left.
Miners coach Tim Floyd called timeout and set up an inbounds play from the baseline. Polk, who scored 27 points, took the pass on the right wing and got off a tough jumper from just inside the 3-point arc with three defenders running at him. The shot bounced off the front of the rim, and Memphis players rushed to the middle of UTEP's home court to celebrate.
"To beat a team like (UTEP) with the type of talent they have and as well-coached as they are here in their home arena is hard," Pastner said. "That is hard to do and that's a credit to these young men. It's a great win for Memphis.
MEMPHIS 67, UTEP 66
Memphis 27 40 - 67
UTEP 36 30 - 66
Memphis (25-9): Black 11, A. Barton 3, Crawford 15, Carmouche 0, W. Barton 11, Coleman 8, Jackson 17, Witherspoon 0, Stephens 2, Garcia 0.
UTEP (25-9): McCulley 7, Williams 8, Culpepper 7, Stone 3, Polk 27, Gordon 0, Bohannon 6, Britten 8.
3-point goals: Memphis 8-18 (Crawford 5-6, Jackson 1-1, A. Barton 1-3, W. Barton 1-4, Witherspoon 0-1, Carmouche 0-3),. UTEP 7-18 (Polk 4-6, Williams 2-3, Culpepper 1-6, McCulley 0-1, Stone 0-1, Gordon 0-1). Fouled out: None. Rebounds: Memphis 34 (Black 10), UTEP 33 (Stone 11). Assists: Memphis 14 (Jackson 7), UTEP 16 (Stone 7). Total fouls: Memphis 19, UTEP 20. Technicals: W. Barton, Polk. A: 11,769.