Williams vaults Memphis over UCLA
New York, NY (Sports Network) – Shawne Williams scored 20 of his 26 points in
the first half to help 11th-ranked Memphis to an 88-80 victory over No. 16
UCLA in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT at Madison Square Garden.
Rodney Carney added 17 points and Darius Washington Jr. chipped in 16 for the
Tigers (3-0), who will face top-ranked Duke in Friday’s championship game. The
Blue Devils advanced with a 78-68 victory over Drexel in Wednesday’s first
Jordan Farmar scored 28 points and added seven assists for UCLA (3-1), which
rallied from a 20-point deficit early in the second half and got as close as
six. The Bruins will meet Drexel in the consolation game.
Memphis shot a sizzling 61.3 percent in the first half and the hot shooting
continued when a three-pointer by Carney gave the Tigers a 54-34 lead in the
first minute of the second half.
UCLA slowly chipped away and finally closed the gap with 11 straight points.
Farmar scored nine in that run to help the Bruins pull within 75-69 with just
over four minutes remaining.
Williams interrupted the momentum with a baseline drive for a bucket and
Farmar followed with one free throw for the Bruins before a three-pointer by
Carney gave Memphis an 80-70 edge with 2:04 left.
A three-pointer by Farmar pulled the Bruins within seven and Washington hit a
pair from the stripe before another shot from beyond the arc by UCLA’s Arron
Afflalo again made it a six-point game with 42.8 seconds left.
The Tigers, though, hit enough free throws down the stretch to seal it.
Memphis scored the first six points of the game and opened a 12-4 lead behind
nine points from Williams. UCLA got as close as 14-11 on a three-point play by
Michael Fey, who added a layup a few minutes later to keep the Bruins within
The Tigers, though, pulled away with a 13-4 run. A free throw by Andre Allen
gave Memphis a 33-19 cushion with 7:10 left in the opening half.
UCLA answered with seven straight points to cut the deficit in half, but
Williams drained a pair of three-pointers to highlight a 9-0 Memphis run that
extended the lead to 42-26.
The Tigers carried a 51-34 advantage to the break behind Williams’ hot hand.
He was a perfect 7-for-7 from the field and made each of his five three-point
Williams made 10-of-13 shots and 5-of-7 from three-point range…Memphis shot
53.4 percent overall and made 8-of-17 three-point tries…The Tigers won
despite committing 19 turnovers…UCLA shot just 38.8 percent…Afflalo scored
14 points, Fey finished with 13 and Cedric Bozeman netted 11 in defeat…The
Bruins still leads the all-time series 3-2.