BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP)—Such is Memphis’ dominance of Conference USA that sometimes even its deficiencies are a strength.
When Antonio Anderson missed a free throw to try and complete a three-point play, Robert Dozier swooped in for a putback, drew a foul and made his free throw for a five-point trip that erased UAB’s lead for good late in the fifth-ranked Tigers’ 71-60 victory Thursday night.
Memphis (25-3, 13-0) dominated late in the game to clinch a fourth consecutive regular-season title, extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 19 and win No. 55 in a row in the league.
A missed free throw? Big deal.
“We’ve been a bad free throw shooting team for so long that we get a lot of work on rebounding missed free throws,” Tigers coach John Calipari said.
The Tigers did plenty of other things well, too. Doneal Mack and Antonio Anderson hit consecutive 3-pointers to help Memphis shrug off a one-point deficit with a 22-10 run over the final 5:40. The Tigers held Robert Vaden, UAB’s leading scorer, to 0-for-17 shooting.
“I’ve been with him a long time and I’ve never seen him not make one shot,” UAB coach Mike Davis said of Vaden, who leads the league in 3-pointers but missed all 12 of his attempts.
Lawrence Kinnard led UAB with 25 points, going 5-of-8 on 3-pointers, and had 11 rebounds for the Blazers, trying to strengthen their case for an NCAA tournament berth.
Mack had 17 points, while Anderson had 16 and Robert Dozier 15 points and 10 rebounds. Shawn Taggart added 13 points and 11 boards for Memphis, which shot 56 percent from the field in the second half.
The Blazers (19-9, 9-4) handed the Tigers their last conference loss three years ago and came in having won six straight games and nine of 10.
The Tigers showed there’s still a wide gap between themselves and the rest of CUSA with the strong finish, despite committing 19 turnovers.
“This is one of those teams that you don’t know where it’s going to come from,” Calipari said. “It’s crazy. We are trying to do something special. We’ve been in a lot of tight games.”
No. 13 Wake Forest 85, N.C. State 78
At Winston-Salem, N.C., James Johnson had career highs with 28 points and 18 rebounds as lead Wake Forest improved to 13-1 at home.
Ishmael Smith added a season-high 18 points and Chas McFarland had 15 for the Demon Deacons (21-5, 8-5 Atlantic Coast Conference), who shot 52.5 percent but allowed most of an early 15-point lead to slip away.
Tracy Smith scored 18 points to lead five double-figure scorers for the Wolfpack (15-11, 5-8), who were denied their second sweep of Wake Forest in coach Sidney Lowe’s three seasons.
No. 21 Washington 73, No. 14 Arizona St. 70, OT
At Seattle, Jon Brockman scored 21 points for Washington, which survived a wild finish to regulation to maintain control of the Pac-10 race.
The Huskies (21-7, 12-4) moved took a 1 1/2 -games lead in the conference with only two league games remaining and snapped the Sun Devils’ five-game winning streak.
Brockman scored on the first two overtime possessions and Justin Dentmon, whose gaffe at the end of regulation helped the Sun Devils tie it, added six free throws in the extra period.
Jeff Pendergraph had 24 points and 13 rebounds for the Sun Devils (21-6, 10-5), while James Harden added 19 points.
Michigan 87, No. 16 Purdue 78
At Ann Arbor, Mich., DeShawn Sims scored a career-high 29 points and Manny Harris added 27 to lead Michigan.
The Wolverines (18-11, 8-8 Big Ten) improved to 3-4 against ranked opponents and is trying for its first NCAA tournament bid in more than a decade.
Robbie Hummel scored 24 points for the Boilermakers (21-7, 10-5), who had won four straight.
Harris became the sixth player in Michigan history to reach the 1,000-point mark as a sophomore, joining Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Phil Hubbard, Mike McGee and Louis Bullock.
No. 17 Gonzaga 81, Santa Clara 73
At Santa Clara, Calif., Josh Heytvelt scored a career-high 29 points, Matt Bouldin added 23 and Gonzaga remained undefeated in the West Coast Conference.
The Bulldogs (22-5, 13-0) won their fifth straight and 18th in the past 19 meetings with Santa Clara.
Freshman guard Kevin Foster led Santa Clara (14-16, 6-7) with 20 points, while center John Bryant and James Rahon both had 16.
No. 19 Xavier 68, Saint Joseph’s 54
At Philadelphia, Derrick Brown had 18 points and 10 rebounds, and B.J Raymond also scored 18 points to lead Xavier.
The Atlantic 10-leading Musketeers (23-5, 11-3) pulled away from the mistake-prone Hawks over the last 4 minutes to win their second straight.
Ahmad Nivins scored 24 points for the Hawks, who lost their fifth straight game. Saint Joseph’s (14-13, 7-6) played without point guard Tasheed Carr, who sat out because of a concussion suffered Tuesday in practice.
No. 20 Illinois 52, Minnesota 41
At Champaign, Ill., Mike Davis scored 14 points and Trent Meacham added 13 to lead Illinois.
Demitri McCamey added 10 points for The Illini (23-6, 11-5 Big Ten), who took the lead for good with a 14-2 second-half run.
Davis, who had 11 rebounds for his eighth double-double, had six points and six rebounds in the big run that lasted just under 10 minutes.
Damian Johnson had 18 points for the Gophers (20-8, 8-8).
No. 22 UCLA 76, Stanford 71
At Stanford, Calif., Josh Shipp scored 24 points to keep UCLA in the race for a fourth consecutive Pac-10 title.
Alfred Aboya hit four free throws in the final 14 seconds to finish with 16 points for the Bruins (21-7, 10-5), who hung on despite making just one field goal over the final 4 1/2 minutes. The Bruins won for just the second time in their last five games.
Anthony Goods scored 18 points for Stanford (15-11, 4-11), which lost its eighth in the last nine meetings with UCLA.
No. 24 Butler 78, Youngstown St. 57
At Indianapolis, Matt Howard had 25 points and 10 rebounds and Butler clinched at least a share of its third straight Horizon League regular-season championship.
The win guaranteed the Bulldogs (24-4, 14-3) a bye into the conference tournament’s semifinals next week.
Freshman Gordon Hayward added 14 points for Butler, which led by 10 points at halftime and went on to lead by as many as 24 points.
Sirlester Martin finished with 15 points to lead Youngstown State (11-17, 7-10).