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Monday, November 27, 2006

No. 12 Tigers Finished 3rd in Maui

No. 12 Memphis avoids Maui meltdown
By The Associated Press
Thursday, November 23, 2006

LAHAINA, Hawaii - John Calipari contorted his face over and over when trying to explain his team's performance in the Maui Invitational.

"We're walking out of here with a 'What happened for 20 minutes?'" Calipari said after his 12th-ranked Memphis Tigers dominated No. 20 Kentucky 80-63 on Wednesday to finish third in the eight-team tournament.

Earlier Wednesday, Purdue captured fifth place with an 81-73 win over DePaul.

The 20 minutes that Calipari was referring to was the second half of a 92-85 semifinal loss to No. 19 Georgia Tech. The Tigers blew a 16-point halftime lead by being outrebounded 29-9 over the final 20 minutes.

"Maybe we just went brain dead and I'm not taking anything away from Georgia Tech," he said. "But I'll tell you, as disappointed as I was after that second half in our lack of physical play, and after I watched the tape I was even sicker, I'm as proud today. This is a hard game to play with both teams down a little bit after hard losses."

Kentucky, which lost 73-68 to No. 5 UCLA In the semifinals, and Memphis were pretty even for the opening half. Then the Tigers took over with their speed and inside power.

Freshman Willie Kemp scored 10 of his 12 points in the opening four minutes of the second half for the Tigers (3-1), and 6-foot-9, 260-pound Joey Dorsey keyed a 14-0 run with two monster dunks. Memphis had a 38-27 rebound advantage, including 11-5 on the offensive end.

"There was effort today rebounding," Calipari said. "The way it should it always be."

Center Randolph Morris was Kentucky's offense throughout the first 30 minutes. He finished with 18 points and Joe Crawford had 15.

"They were putting some big guys on him," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said.

Morris admitted he was worn down after playing in his third game in as many days and his fifth in eight days. "That had an effect on me. We hit the wall so to speak in the second half," he said. "They showed what they wanted to do and rotated big men on me."

Robert Dozier, who was scoreless and fouled out in the loss to Georgia Tech, had 15 points for Memphis, while Chris Douglas-Roberts and Jeremy Hunt each had 13. Dorsey finished with six points and seven rebounds.

"There are no excuses but we were tired," Smith said. "We'll get better.

"We have a lot of things to do to get better."

The third-place finish matched Memphis' best (1992) in four appearances on Maui. Kentucky won the tournament in 1993, and finished third in 1997 and 2002.

This was the first-ever meeting between the schools.

- Purdue 81, DePaul 73: Carl Landry scored 22 points and Tarrance Crump had 20 for the Boilermakers.

Landry, a 6-foot-7 power forward, and Crump, a 6-1 point guard, combined for 28 of their team's 35 points in the second half as the Boilermakers (4-1) lost most of a 19-point halftime lead before holding on.

Wilson Chandler had 16 points for the Blue Demons (2-4), who made 11 straight shots from the field and drew to 69-63 with 5:06 left on a 3-pointer by Chandler.

Crump put Purdue up 71-63 by converting a drive as the shot clock wound down with 1:51 left. Sammy Mejia hit a 3 with 1:19 left to get DePaul within 71-66, but Landry made two free throws 20 seconds later, the first of 10 straight he and Crump made in the final minute.

Purdue shot 69 percent in taking the 45-26 halftime lead. The Boilermakers hit five straight 3s in a 19-4 run that gave them a 38-17 lead with 6:15 left, and led by as much as 45-21.

David Teague had 14 points and 11 rebounds for Purdue, and Landry, who had 30 points in the consolation semifinal win over Oklahoma, grabbed 10 rebounds. Draelon Burns added 15 points for DePaul, while Mejia had 13.

Purdue played the second game without starting freshman guard Chris Kramer, who has a sprained ligament in his right knee.

This was Purdue's second appearance tournament, having lost to North Carolina in the 1999 championship game. This was DePaul's third sixth-place finish in four appearances on Maui. The other was a seventh.

- Oklahoma 72, Chaminade 57: Longar Longar had 24 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to lead the Sooners (3-2) in the seventh-place game. Chaminade fell to 0-3.

1 comment:

g said...

"what happened for twenty minutes"
he says, and i'm surprised at Calipari's apparent innoncence.

Coach Cal is an experienced basketball coach, and when he speaks publically he is doing several things that might not immediately be apparent.

He is pumping his team. Trying to get a high seed. And he is trying to motivate own his players.

Don't look for him to be speaking "the truth" as we usually know it. He is a master publicist.

If you break down any Tigers game, there are four offensive scenarios.

One, the team executes a fast break and beats the defense down the floor. Two, the tigers run plays against a man to man half court defense. Three, the tigers run plays against a half court zone defense. and Four, some tigers, notably Dorsey and Dozier, get garbage shots off an offensive rebound.

Scenarios one and two, the tigers have down pat. Scenario four is OK, and should get better next year with the addition of Taggert.

The problems the tigers have, and had in spades against georgia tech in the first twenty minutes of the game, was scoring in the half court against the zone.

It didn't seem to matter at the time because the tigers were scoring on steals and fast break opportunities, and georgia tech couldn't buy a basket.

But the scene was set for the turnaround. When the second half opened the yellow jackets made more of an effort to get back on defense, memphis was again flat against the zone, and the spirit of the game changed.

Not a big mystery.

If memphis cannot get points off the fast break, cannot break the zone, and faces a good rebounding team that can score, they are in trouble.