Nov. 23, 2005
NEW YORK (AP) - Freshman Shawne Williams scored 20 of his 26 points in the first half to help No. 11 Memphis hold off No. 16 UCLA 88-80 in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Wednesday night.
Williams was 7-for-7 in the first half, including five 3-pointers, and Memphis shot 61 percent from the floor en route to a 51-34 lead at the break.
Memphis (3-0) will face top-ranked Duke in the final Friday night. The Blue Devils beat pesky Drexel 78-68 in the other semifinal.
The Tigers, a five-time participant in the Tip-Off, formerly known as the Preseason NIT, will be making their first appearance in the championship game. Memphis has been a semifinalist twice before (1990 and 1998).
Memphis seemed to have the game in hand with a 75-58 lead before UCLA's Jordan Farmar took over. The Bruins (3-1) went on a 18-7 run, including 13 points by Farmar to close the gap to six at 82-76 with 42 seconds left, but UCLA made all six of its free throws in the last 25.7 seconds.
Farmar, who sat out UCLA's 56-37 win over Delaware State on Saturday because of a sprained ankle, was off in the first half, making just one of six shots. He came alive in the second, scoring 23 of his team-high 28 points.
Rodney Carney scored 17 points and Darius Washington added 16.
Memphis beat Wisconsin-Milwaukee and then won at Alabama to reach the semifinals.
UCLA beat New Mexico State and Temple to advance to New York.