Hot-shooting Memphis tops UAB

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Will Barton and Chris Crawford scored 16 points each as Memphis used a first-half 3-point barrage to build an early lead and coast to a 79-45 victory over Alabama-Birmingham on Saturday night.

Antonio Barton added 10 for Memphis (18-7, 8-2 Conference USA) which remained tied with Southern Mississippi atop the conference standings.

Preston Purifoy led the Blazers (10-14, 5-6) with 14 points, while Quincy Taylor added 12, connecting on 5 of 7 from the field.

The Blazers top two scorers — Cameron Moore and Jordan Swing — endured miserable nights. They were a combined 1 of 11 from the field, contributing to UAB shooting 34.1 percent (15 of 44).

UAB, which entered the game on a three-game winning streak, never was in the game as the Tigers hit their first seven from outside the arc, ending the night 14 of 24 from long range (58.3 percent).

Memphis would end the night 26 of 49 (53.1 percent) overall. The Tigers outrebounded the Blazers 33-20, including five offensive rebounds leading to 10 second-chance points.

The first half was all about Memphis’ shooting, particularly from outside the arc. The Tigers were 16 of 24 from the field (66.7 percent), including 11 of 14 from long-range (78.6 percent) after hitting their first seven.

The 11 first-half 3s tied a school record set earlier this season against Austin Peay for 3-pointers in a half.

The accuracy was so contagious that D.J. Stephens, who usually is good for one highlight dunk because of his leaping ability, recorded a 3-pointer — only the second time he has attempted one this season.

He then hit another in the second half.

Meanwhile, UAB managed only 33.3 percent (7 of 21) in the half, contributing to Memphis extending its lead throughout the first half.

And, if all that wasn’t bad enough for the Blazers, Memphis controlled the boards 15-5.

That was a recipe for Memphis to lead by as many as 28 before carrying a 47-21 lead into the dressing room.

Crawford, who was 5 of 7 from the field, including 4 of 5 from outside the arc, had 14 first-half points for Memphis.

In the second half, Memphis would build the lead to as many as 36, prompting coach Josh Pastner to empty the bench with about 5 minutes left.