AUSTIN, Texas (Ticker) -- Freshman Darius Washington tried to turn around Memphis' disappointing start with a big win. Unfortunately for Washington and the Tigers, Texas' P.J. Tucker stepped up at the right time.
Tucker scored five of his 18 points in the final two minutes to lift the 11th-ranked Longhorns to a 74-67 victory over Memphis, which got a career-high 23 points from Washington.
After scoring 11 points in the first half, Tucker was held in check for most of the second half until the sophomore forward made 1-of-2 free throws for a 69-67 lead with 1:49 remaining.
Tucker, who was named Big 12 Conference co-Player of the Week on Monday after averaging 23 points and 11 rebounds in Texas' victories over Texas-San Antonio and Nevada-Las Vegas, added a dunk off a turnover by Washington with 43 seconds left. He then grabbed a rebound and made a pair of free throws to make it 73-67 with 17 seconds left.
"Daniel (Gibson) played great defense and got Memphis to lose the ball," said Tucker about Memphis' late turnover. "I got it. I knew we needed a bucket to put the game away, so I just went in and dunked it."
"I just tried to apply a lot of pressure," Gibson said. "It led to the turnover. After missing the free throw, I knew I had to do the little intangibles that coach talks about and not get down on myself. I was very happy with our toughness, even when they were on a run. Coach always talks about staying tough and stopping runs." The big finish by Tucker overshadowed the outstanding play of freshman point guards Washington and Texas' Gibson.
With Sean Banks limited by foul trouble in the first half for Memphis, Washington scored 15 points as the Tigers battled to a 36-36 deadlock at the break.
"Our goal tonight was to make him a point guard," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "He did a great job in the backcourt of driving and ended up with 23 points. He was great when the shot clock was running down, and created problems for our team because he took advantage of our mistakes. He's a really talented kid."
Gibson rallied the Longhorns (11-2) in the second half, hitting an early 3-pointer and making two free throws for a 49-41 lead with 15:42 remaining.
Banks scored five points and Washington added four during a 10-2 run that tied the score, 63-63, with 5:19 remaining. But Gibson responded with his third 3-pointer of the game a little over a minute later.
Gibson finished with 17 points and Brad Buckman had 12 before fouling out for the Longhorns, who have won four straight before opening Big 12 Conference play Sunday against Baylor.
Jason Klotz scored 11 points and Kenny Taylor added seven and eight rebounds for Texas, which held the Tigers to 32 percent (8-of-25) shooting in the second half.
"We were solid on defense tonight," Barnes said. "That is where we got it done and made big plays. The key to our games is doing exactly what we are doing, which is focusing on the game at hand. These are talented teams we are defending, but our guys really held them tonight."
Rodney Carney scored 18 points and Banks chipped in 17 despite picking up two fouls in a five-second span in the first half for Memphis (7-7), which managed just one shot on its final three possessions and absorbed its fourth loss to a ranked opponent this season.
"It hurt us a lot in the first half and into the second half because they took a lot of our key players off the floor," said Carney about the early foul trouble. "Then, when they knew we were in foul trouble, they didn't let up and they kept attacking us. Coach told us they were going to push the ball and be physical and I definitely realized that having to guard P.J. Tucker during the game."