AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- If Texas wanted a rough-and-tumble game
before heading into the Big 12, the Longhorns got it.
Leave it to beefy sophomore forward P.J. Tucker to provide the
muscle to get them through it.
Tucker scored four points in the final 42 seconds, including a
fastbreak dunk after a turnover, and Texas (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today; No. 15 AP) powered past
Memphis for a rugged 74-67 victory Thursday night.
"I got a gift," Tucker said. "Then I made the highlight
Texas led 69-67 when the Longhorns pressured Memphis guard
Darius Washington into losing the ball as the shot clock was
Tucker tipped the ball forward, picked it up and raced downcourt
to throw down a one-handed jam over Memphis' Rodney Carney.
"I knew I had to dunk the ball because Carney is so athletic
and can jump up to block the shot," Tucker said.
He wasn't done. Tucker, who led Texas with 18 points, was fouled
after rebounding Washington's missed 3-pointer and hit both free
throws with 17 seconds left to seal the victory.
"They've got a guy like Tucker who makes every big play, every
free throw, every rebound you need to win the game," said Memphis
coach John Calipari, whose team lost for the fifth time in seven
Daniel Gibson added 17 points for the Longhorns (11-2).
Washington scored 23 points and Carney had 18 for Memphis (7-7).
The rough-and-tumble game showcased a flashy backcourt matchup
between freshmen point guards Washington and Gibson.
Both were All-Americas in high school and showed off their
strengths. Washington used his slippery quickness to drive to the
basket for layups while Gibson hit three 3-pointers, the last
giving Texas a 66-63 lead with 4:07 left after Washington had just
Gibson had just missed two free throws when he was matched with
Washington on the decisive possession. After getting beat by
Washington all night, Gibson finally created a turnover at the
"He was very aggressive. He kept taking the ball to the rack,"
Gibson said. "All I remember is he went down as I was on him. I
knew I needed to make the big play."
The teams played a rough, physical contest from the opening
tipoff as Memphis' beefy frontcourt challenged Texas on every ball
near the basket and players from both teams dived to the floor in
wild chases for loose balls.
Calipari drew a warning for wandering too far up court to
protest a foul and Tucker and Memphis' Joey Dorsey were summoned by
a game official to calm down their physical play.
"It was the most physical game we've played all year and we
responded well to that," Texas coach Rick Barnes said.
"Coach always tells us to make the first hit," said Longhorns
freshman forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who had four points and seven
rebounds. "We don't let the other team be the aggressor."
The game was its roughest in the second half when Texas' Jason
Klotz punched Simplice Njoya in the stomach as the two got tied up
in a screen. Njoya went to his knees briefly but finished the game.
None of the officials saw the punch but TV replays caught it.
Texas held the biggest lead of the first half at 28-21 before a
7-2 Memphis run kept the Longhorns from grabbing momentum. Sean
Banks and Dorsey both had dunks and Banks hit a 3-pointer for the
Tigers before the teams went into halftime tied at 36.
The rough play continued in the second half. After Gibson hit a
3-pointer, Memphis' Arthur Barclay was called for an intentional
foul on Texas' Brad Buckman, who hit four free throws in a 9-3 run
that opened a 47-39 lead.
But Memphis wouldn't allow Texas to get the lead into double
digits and the Tigers twice rallied before Washington tied it at 63
with a slashing drive for a scoop layup. But Memphis didn't hit
another field goal over the final 5 minutes.
"Our last three possessions stunk," Calipari said.
It was the last non-conference game of the season for both
Texas opens Big 12 play on Sunday at home against Baylor.
Memphis starts its Conference USA schedule on Sunday against