No. 6 Memphis Wins 18th Straight With 78-67 Victory Over UTEP
March 2, 2007 10:04 a.m. EST
Christopher Cornell - All Headline News Sports Reporter
El Paso, TX (AHN) - No. 6 Memphis continued its domination over Conference USA on Thursday by winning its 18th straight contest with a 78-67 victory over the University of Texas El Paso. The Tigers (26-3, 15-0) haven't dropped a contest since Dec. 20 when they fell 79-71 to Arizona.
The Tigers have won their last eight conference contests by double digits.
The backcourt combination of Chris Douglas-Roberts and reserve Jeremy Hunt was too much for the Miners to overcome on Thursday night. Douglas-Roberts dropped 21 points while Hunt added 19, including 5-of-8 from long distance. The Tigers' bench played a big part in their 18th straight victory as Doneal Mack added 10 as a sub and the entire reserve unit contributed 36 points.
The Tigers coach John Calipari felt fortunate to escape with the win on the road.
"Two shots for them and they win that game," Calipari said, referring to a pair of late 3-pointers that wouldn't fall for the Miners.
Memphis built a 10-point advantage with 8:18 remaining on a dunk by Joey Dorsey, but UTEP climbed back in with haste. UTEP scored the next seven points to close the gap to 28-25 with just under seven minutes to go. The Miners tied the game at 36 with a minute left on a 3-pointer by Jeremy Sampson. Robert Dozier and Mack closed out the half with a pair of jumpers to take a four-point advantage into the break.
Kareem Cooper hit a two and a half minutes into the second half to put the Tigers up 47-39, but they went 3:30 without a field goal and allowed UTEP to close to within 47-44. Douglas-Roberts pushed the lead to double digits again with 5:16 left as he scored five straight points.
Stefon Jackson's free throws got the Miners back within five at 68-63 with 3:41 left, but the Tigers put the game away with a 3-pointer from Hunt with 51 seconds left, making it a 74-64 game.
Jackson led the Miners with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Jeremy Sampson had 14 points and hit 5-of-7 from the field. Maurice Thomas added 11 and Marvin Kilgore scored 12.
The Tigers held a 47-33 advantage on the glass and grabbed 22 offensive rebounds which led to 10 second chance points.
Memphis will try to complete a perfect conference record on Saturday when they play at SMU.