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Monday, January 29, 2007

Article on Memphis Athletic Budget

Board gives, gets the money that keeps Tigers afloat

By David Williams, Memphis Commercial Appeal
January 28, 2007

We hear it all the time: College athletics is big business.

But that's not to suggest that profits just naturally flow, millions upon millions, into athletic department coffers. Take the University of Memphis, which operated at a $1.3 million deficit for the last fiscal year. It costs the athletic department some $6 million annually just to cover the cost of scholarships. (Yes, somebody has to pay for those "free" rides.)

"Every 1 percent that tuition goes up, it costs us $50,000 a year," said athletic director R.C. Johnson. "So if there's a 10 percent increase in tuition, that's a half a million dollars.
"It's a race, and I'm running, but. ... "

Johnson and the athletic department's Tiger Scholarship Fund (formerly the Tiger Clubs) aren't running alone, though. For a decade now, they've had the help of the Tiger Athletic Advisory Board of Directors, whose members provide donations and leads to potential donors, as well as advice, strategic planning, and a connection to the fan base that Johnson said is essential.

Board members past and present were honored last week with a pregame reception before the men's basketball team played Tulsa at FedExForum. It was a thank you for 10 years of fund-raising help, 10 years of bending Johnson's ear, 10 years of keeping Tiger athletics from seeming like such a big business that the average fan can't relate.

"I've never seen anyone who served who didn't understand the importance of the university, and come away more committed than when they first started," said the board's first president, Harold Byrd, who is vice chairman and president of the Bank of Bartlett.

Byrd, a supporter of the school's academic side as well, said athletics can sometimes seem to "assume a much-too-important position" at a university. But, he added, "Athletics brings attention to this university, which I think is the most underappreciated and undervalued asset of this community."

Adviser Cato Johnson, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare senior vice president for corporate affairs, called the board "an extremely talented, diverse group of supporters from across all the spectrums of the community."

Johnson is currently serving on the advisory board's strategic planning subcommittee, studying everything from seating plans to best practices at other universities to -- of course -- funding needs.

The board has 51 members, representing the full range of giving. Some donate hundreds to the scholarship fund, others tens of thousands.

Board membership rotates, although the athletic department's star donors -- the 21 "Ambassadors," who have given $500,000 over a four-year period -- are permanent members.

R.C. Johnson said there's a saying in the athletic department. He said board members are asked "to give it or get it."

He's talking about money -- the necessary fuel for an athletic department with a budget of $26.5 million.

The scholarship fund last year reached $5 million -- double the amount of a decade ago.

"We're pretty pleased with that," R.C. Johnson said, "because not only have we come a long way, but we've had so many other projects in the meantime. We've built this and we've built that, and we've had to raise money for salaries and raise money to buy out salaries. That's all been separate (from the scholarship fund)."

The $5 million was a long-standing goal, but still not enough to cover rising scholarship costs.

The goal, then, for the athletic department's fund-raising staff -- and its friends, the advisory board members -- is to raise even more.

But R.C. Johnson said the advisers' value isn't just monetary. They're the voice of other donors, and a connection to the community.

"I hear from some more than others," he said. "But I always welcome their input -- and I usually get it."

Sometimes, they may disagree. Byrd, for example, opposes building a new football stadium at the Mid-South Fairgrounds, an idea proposed by Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton and backed by R.C. Johnson.

The athletic department and its advisers, though, are a tight team on the larger matter at hand -- moving the U of M forward.

"There's not a thing that's so universal in this community," Byrd said, "as the University of Memphis."

To see a list of advisory board members, visit:

-- David Williams: 529-2310


Tiger Scholarship Fund

The following shows the approximate dollar amounts (in millions) raised by the Tiger Scholarship Fund (formerly the Tiger Clubs) over the last decade:

1997: 2.5
1998: 2.5
1999: 2.2
2000: 3.1
2001: 3.8
2002: 4
2003: 4.5
2004: 4.6
2005: 4.9
2006: 5

Big Plays Late Rescue Tigers

Big plays late rescue Tigers
Calipari believes narrow escape will benefit team

By Dan Wolken
January 28, 2007

If you're Andre Allen, and you're a 30.5 percent career 3-point shooter, what do you do when the ball comes to you with 1 minute, 56 seconds remaining and the University of Memphis down by two?

If you're Jeremy Hunt, and you've missed every kind of shot imaginable, what do you do when Southern Miss goes to a zone defense and the game hangs in the balance?

And if you're Chris Douglas-Roberts, what do you do when there's pain shooting up your right ankle every time you take a step, but see a victory slipping away?

The only way to explain how No. 11-ranked Memphis came from six points down with 6:25 remaining at FedExForum Saturday to beat Southern Miss, 67-64, is by answering those three questions.

If you're Allen, you bury that 3-pointer. If you're Hunt, you make two 3-pointers, the second giving Memphis a 58-55 lead with 3:45 left. And if you're Douglas-Roberts, you demand the basketball and score 10 points in the final seven minutes, including two free throws with 7.6 seconds left when one miss would have opened the door for a monumental upset.

And after Southern Miss forward Sai'Quon Stone's tying 3-point attempt missed at the buzzer and the Tigers had their ninth straight win, coach John Calipari exhaled and thought about all the plays down the stretch that helped Memphis improve to 17-3 overall and 7-0 in Conference USA.

"We need a bunch of these (close games)," Calipari said. "To go through (a season) and not have a bunch of these is tough. The reason you need these games is, as a unit, you know who has the (courage) to make a play because we weren't running plays. We were jumping on some guys' backs, and they made plays. It's easier to stop a play than it is a player."

And for most of the game, Southern Miss effectively stopped Memphis' plays. Though the Tigers ended the first half on a 12-0 run to take a 32-25 lead into the locker room, the Golden Eagles came right back behind freshman guard Jeremy Wise, who scored 28 points on 10-of-24 shooting.

Southern Miss also took advantage of Memphis' poor free-throw shooting -- 12-of-25 in the second half, including four straight misses on front-ends once the Tigers got into the bonus -- and grabbed the lead with a 14-4 run.

A 17-foot jumper by Wise with 6:25 to play gave Southern Miss a 55-49 lead, and with Douglas-Roberts, the Tigers' leading scorer, clearly limited due to a sprained ankle that forced him to miss Memphis' previous three games, a pall fell over the crowd of 14,741.

"Early in the game, my ankle was killing me but I was thinking about it too much," Douglas-Roberts said. "I saw us losing, and I was like, 'No way we're going to lose this.' I said (to Calipari), ride me for a minute."

Hunt was calling for the ball too. Despite a rough start -- he made four of his first 12 from the field, 2-of-7 from 3-point range -- Hunt didn't hesitate with 5:15 to go when he got an open look with Memphis behind 53-52. It dropped. And so did the next one, 1:30 later, to put the Tigers ahead by three.

"I'm going to miss shots a whole lot during the season," said Hunt, who finished with 21 points. "I'm just the type of player, I'm not going to stop shooting if I'm wide open. I just wanted to take my time on my shots, and they started falling, and they just happened to be two big threes at the end."

But the biggest belonged to Allen, who had missed 14 of his previous 18 attempts from 3-point range this season. But when he got the ball wide-open on the far wing with 1:56 left and Memphis down 62-60 after a Wise jumper, he had no thought but to shoot.

"I told Chris three plays earlier, when I pass him the ball, my man was running the trap," Allen said. "So I told him, my man is leaving me to come and trap you. If you pass it to me, I'm guaranteed to make it."

While Memphis was celebrating, Southern Miss (13-6, 3-3) was wondering what more it could have done. Two weeks after making Memphis work down to the last couple minutes for a 75-62 victory in Hattiesburg, the Golden Eagles played even better.

Southern Miss roughed up the Tigers at every opportunity, got forward Robert Dozier in foul trouble (he had seven points in 16 minutes), outrebounded the Tigers 37-31 and generally out-worked them for most of the game.

"The game was closer than three points in my opinion," coach Larry Eustachy said. "Hunt hit huge shots against the zone. Allen hit a huge shot. You've got to give those two guys credit. What we wanted to happen happened."

-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365

Quotes From Cal and Southern Miss Coach Larry Eustachy

Memphis Head Coach John Calipari

"I would tell you again that Larry (Eustachy) is doing a heck of a job. Those guys fought like crazy. His guys made plays. But I'm going to tell you we had three guys on our team who are up for games like this. We need games like this, even at home. If the other team is playing harder with more desire, we'll lose."

"The other reason is, in a close game, who will make plays? Who made plays today? Jeremy Hunt made two shots. Who else made it? Andre Allen made a big shot, and then Chris (Douglas-Roberts) came over and said, `Coach, ride me for awhile.' So what did we do? Whenever a player says that to me, I ride them. We just gave it to him and gave it to him and gave it to him."

"We're still not where we need to be. But I'm telling you, we played today. They just played better. We were fortunate to win. I'm happy we won."

"(During the timeout), I was contemplating fouling, but the team convinced me not to. If we had done that, we would have trapped. They would have taken their time in bringing the ball up, and we would foul because they had no more timeouts left. If they missed it, we had timeouts. I decided against it because four of them were in my face saying `No, don't foul.' And then they almost make the three. They didn't, but if I had to do it over again, I probably would have fouled No. 14 (Sai'Quon Stone) as he brought it up the court."

Southern Miss Head Coach Larry Eustachy

"In the first half, we had a situation where the crowd and momentum changed. We totally unraveled and could not get to the locker room fast enough. I thought the team responded well at halftime. Then we came into the same scenario in the second half and we didn't unravel."

"This game was closer than three points in my opinion. I give Memphis credit. (Jeremy) Hunt hit a huge shot against the zone. (Andre) Allen hit a huge shot. You've got to give those two guys credit. What we wanted to happen happened. We just didn't think we could stop their bigger perimeter guys. "

"How are we going to handle this? Are we going to be happy we played with Memphis? After the Alabama game, we were just excited we played with Alabama. So are we going to be happy when they tell us in Hattiesburg what a great game we played, or are we going to put this game behind us and play the biggest game of the year Wednesday against a similar type of team in UTEP?"

"I think John (Calipari) has a tough task keeping a team going when they've won so many games in a row. John did a terrific job down the end making some decisions. I think Memphis is just getting better and better and better."

"We've finally got to turn the corner and realize these are games we need to win. We have to put this game behind us and look forward."

Official Box Score - Memphis 67, Sou. Miss. 64

Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
Southern Miss vs Memphis
01/27/07 12:00 pm at Memphis, Tenn. (FedExForum)
VISITORS: Southern Miss 13-6, 3-3
14 STONE, Sai'Quon..... f 4-7 0-1 7-11 3 2 5 3 15 0 1 0 1 37
50 BAIN, Gjio.......... c 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 4 2 0 0 4 0 22
01 BEASLEY, Courtney... g 1-2 0-0 2-2 1 2 3 3 4 1 3 0 0 13
02 GREEN, DeWayne...... g 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 1 2 1 4 0 1 15
03 WISE, Jeremy........ g 10-24 1-3 7-9 0 3 3 2 28 5 5 1 1 40-
23 CRAFT, Craig........ 2-7 0-1 0-0 0 6 6 5 4 0 3 0 1 28
24 HILL, Jarvis........ 1-5 1-4 0-2 0 1 1 3 3 1 1 0 1 27
40 DOTSON, Demar....... 2-3 0-0 2-3 5 5 10 4 6 0 0 0 0 18
TEAM................ 2 2 4 2
Totals.............. 22-52 2-9 18-27 12 25 37 25 64 8 19 5 5 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 9-25 36.0% 2nd Half: 13-27 48.1% Game: 42.3% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 0-3 0.0% 2nd Half: 2-6 33.3% Game: 22.2% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 7-7 100 % 2nd Half: 11-20 55.0% Game: 66.7% 5,4

HOME TEAM: Memphis 17-3, 7-0
02 Dozier, Robert...... f 3-4 1-2 0-0 1 1 2 5 7 0 2 0 0 16
32 Dorsey, Joey........ f 3-3 0-0 1-5 5 11 16 4 7 0 2 3 3 32
01 Kemp, Willie........ g 0-4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 2 0 0 20
12 Anderson, Antonio... g 2-8 0-0 1-2 1 1 2 4 5 2 0 1 1 37
14 DOUGLAS-ROBERTS, C.. g 3-7 0-1 9-12 1 0 1 3 15 2 3 1 0 25
04 Niles, Pierre....... 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
05 Hunt, Jeremy........ 6-14 4-9 5-7 0 3 3 2 21 1 1 1 1 28
15 Allen, Andre........ 2-7 1-2 3-4 1 1 2 1 8 3 1 0 1 24
20 Mack, Doneal........ 1-3 0-1 2-3 0 1 1 1 4 0 0 1 0 12
42 Cooper, Kareem...... 0-2 0-0 0-2 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 5
TEAM................ 2 2
Totals.............. 20-52 6-16 21-37 11 20 31 23 67 8 12 8 6 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-29 34.5% 2nd Half: 10-23 43.5% Game: 38.5% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-10 30.0% 2nd Half: 3-6 50.0% Game: 37.5% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 9-12 75.0% 2nd Half: 12-25 48.0% Game: 56.8% 8,2
Officials: Rick Hartzell, Terry Christman, David Maracich
Technical fouls: Southern Miss-None. Memphis-None.
Attendance: 14741
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
Southern Miss................. 25 39 - 64
Memphis....................... 32 35 - 67

Points in the paint-USM 32,MEM 28. Points off turnovers-USM 16,MEM 16.
2nd chance points-USM 17,MEM 12. Fast break points-USM 10,MEM 7.
Bench points-USM 13,MEM 33. Score tied-7 times. Lead changed-5 times.
Last FG-USM 2nd-02:12, MEM 2nd-01:26.
Largest lead-USM by 9 1st-11:41, MEM by 9 2nd-19:30.

Tigers Top Golden Eagles 67-64

Tigers Top Golden Eagles, 67-64
Hunt pours in 21 points.
Tigers Stay Perfect In C-USA Play, Beat Tulsa 72-59

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Someone finally gave Memphis a scare at home.

Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 15 points, including five in the final 2:28, and No. 11 Memphis rallied past Southern Mississippi 67-64 on Saturday for its ninth straight victory.

The Tigers (17-3, 7-0 Conference USA) had to come back from six points down with 6:25 to play. Jeremy Hunt led Memphis with 21 points, and Douglas-Roberts' two free throws with 7.6 seconds left preserved the win.

"We almost lost one, but almost doesn't count," said Douglas-Roberts, who is still favoring a high ankle sprain that forced him to miss the previous two games.

Joey Dorsey grabbed a season-high 16 rebounds and added three blocks for Memphis.

Jeremy Wise had 28 points and five assists to lead Southern Mississippi (13-6, 3-3), and Sai'Quon Stone finished with 15 points.

It was by far the toughest home game of the season for the Tigers, who have won 25 in a row at the FedExForum. Coming in, Memphis had beaten visitors by an average of 23.5 points this season. Ole Miss presented the strongest previous challenge, losing by 12 in December.

"We need games like this, even at home," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "If the other team is playing harder with more desire, we'll lose."

But instead of his usual stand that his team didn't play up to its potential, Calipari gave credit to Southern Mississippi.

"We were fortunate to win," he said.

Even Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy thinks Memphis' talented team could benefit from a few more tests.

"They've had so much success. I think the best thing that could happen to Memphis - and I tell John this all the time - is that they lose a game," Eustachy said. "They're going to win this league, and this is all about March for them. They could be helped if they faced a little adversity."

Southern Mississippi, the league's top defensive team, was unfazed by the Tigers' winning streak and caused problems for Memphis throughout. The Tigers didn't help themselves by shooting 21-of-37 from the free throw line.

"This was like a tournament game," Douglas-Roberts said. "A team that is not really noticed, comes out and plays hard like they are playing for their lives. We need games like this to get ready."

Southern Miss led early, but a late burst by Memphis to close the first half gave the Tigers the lead. Still, the Golden Eagles stayed close and retook the lead midway through the second half.

Southern Mississippi led 55-50 with just more than six minutes left when Memphis scored eight unanswered points, including a pair of 3-pointers by Hunt, to reclaim the lead.

The teams exchanged the lead, with the Golden Eagles holding a 62-60 advantage with 2:12 to go. But Memphis closed the game with a 7-2 run.

"We totally unraveled and could not get to the locker room fast enough," Eustachy said. "I thought the team responded well at halftime. Then we came into the same scenario in the second half, and didn't unravel."

Memphis carried a 32-25 lead into halftime, but it was Southern Mississippi that controlled play early.

Wise had 13 points in the first half for the Golden Eagles. Hunt, struggling with his shooting touch, led Memphis with 11 points - but he hit only three of nine shots in the half.

The Southern Mississippi defense caused havoc for Memphis early in the game, limiting Tigers shots and forcing turnovers.

The defense and an early offensive burst from Wise, who hit his first four shots, gave the Golden Eagles a nine-point lead after Memphis went more than five minutes without a field goal. At the time, Southern Mississippi was shooting 50 percent, while the Tigers were at 25 percent.

But Memphis finally got going and the crowd got into the game during the last 9 minutes of the half. The Tigers went on a 12-0 run in the final 6:51, led by Hunt's eight points.

Calipari shuffled players throughout while trying to find the right combination to crack the Golden Eagles' defense, but the Tigers shot only 39 percent.

The Golden Eagles were hurt by 19 turnovers.

Memphis Goes In Search of Ninth Straight Win

Memphis goes in search of ninth straight win
January 27, 12:26 PM

The premier team in Conference USA is the 11th-ranked Memphis Tigers, and they welcome the Southern Miss Golden Eagles to town this afternoon.

With back-to-back wins, Southern Miss has improved to 13-5 overall, including a 3-2 mark against C-USA foes. On Wednesday, the Golden Eagles put forth one of their best offensive efforts of the season in an 83-72 triumph over East Carolina.

Memphis has won eight straight games, a streak that began back on December 23rd. The current run has enabled the Tigers to move to 16-3 overall, including a 6-0 mark in league play. All eight wins during the streak have come by double figures, including a 72-59 triumph over Tulsa on Wednesday.

Memphis holds a 51-23 advantage in the all-time series with Southern Miss, and the Tigers won both meetings last season by a wide margin.

Four players scored in double figures for Southern Miss in the 11-point victory over East Carolina on Thursday. The Golden Eagles got 19 points apiece from Sai'Quon Stone and Craig Craft, and 17 of Stone's points came from the foul line. In fact, Southern Miss earned a 27-7 edge in points from the charity stripe, the most obvious contributing factor in the win. Jeremy Wise pitched in 15 points and six assists, while Courtney Beasley tallied 12 points. Wise is the top scorer for Southern miss this season, as he is netting 15.8 ppg. Unfortunately, there is not another double- digit scorer in the lineup. On a positive note, the Golden Eagles are a tremendous defensive team, limiting opponents to 59.6 ppg on 38.6 percent shooting from the field while also outrebounding foes by well over eight boards per contest.

Memphis did not have the services of Chris Douglas-Roberts against Tulsa, as he continues to recover from a high ankle sprain. In the absence of the standout, the Tigers connected on only 39.7 percent of their field goal attempts, including a 4-of-16 showing from three-point range. Fortunately, they were able to force 18 turnovers and limit the Golden Hurricane to 33.9 percent shooting from the field. Leading the way in the win was Joey Dorsey with 13 points and 11 rebounds. Robert Dozier came through with 12 points and eight boards, and Jeremy Hunt tallied 11 points. Douglas-Roberts is averaging 14.8 ppg, and his status for today's game is uncertain. Hunt checks in with 13.5 ppg, and Dozier is contributing 11.5 ppg and 6.3 rpg.

Southern Miss Looks to Break Memphis Hex

Southern Mississippi Looks to Break Memphis Hex
The Tigers have won six straight over Southern Miss by an average of 18.8 points

Jan. 26, 2007

Joey Dorsey has been dominating the paint for Memphis this season, but coach John Calipari is still expecting more.

Dorsey hopes to make a better impression on his coach when the 11th-ranked Tigers host Southern Mississippi on Saturday in a Conference USA matchup.

The 6-foot-9, 260-pound Dorsey was named to the preseason all-conference team, and has been a force in the middle for Memphis (16-3, 6-0) all season. He leads the league with 10.1 rebounds per game, and has grabbed at least 10 boards in 12 of his last 14 games.

Dorsey had 13 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots to lead the Tigers to a 72-59 victory over Tulsa on Wednesday, but Calipari was upset with his lack of effort and hustle.

"Think about it," Calipari said. "He's getting a double-double and I'm not happy, and everybody's looking at me like I'm out of my mind. Well, it depends. If you think I should accept what I think is less than he's capable of, you're right.

"Joey could have 18 rebounds a game, so if you're capable of that, and I accept getting 12, I'm doing him a disservice."

Dorsey's numbers were not much better when Memphis faced Southern Miss (13-5, 3-2) on Jan. 13, but Calipari came away significantly more pleased with him. The junior forward scored a season-high 14 points, grabbed 11 boards and matched a career high with six blocks in a 75-62 victory.

"Here's what happened: Joey Dorsey was a man," Calipari said after that game.

The Tigers have won six straight over Southern Miss by an average of 18.8 points, and have won their last five home games against them, dating to Dec. 27, 2000.

Memphis has been outstanding at FedEx Forum this season, going 11-0 and outscoring opponents by an average of 25.3 points. They have won 24 straight home games, and are 46-8 at FedEx Forum since it opened in 2004.

The Tigers expect to get leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts back for this game after he missed the last two with a high ankle sprain. Douglas-Roberts is averaging 14.8 points, and scored 23 against the Golden Eagles two weeks ago.

Memphis has won eight straight games and leads Conference USA in scoring at 80.0 points per game, while Southern Miss is allowing the fewest points in the league with a 59.6 average.

The Golden Eagles defeated East Carolina 83-72 on Wednesday to move above the .500 mark in league play for the first time in six years.

They also beat UAB 57-55 in overtime last Saturday, but have not won three consecutive league games since a five-game win streak from Feb. 14-March 3, 2001.

"It was a big win for us. We needed to put together back-to-back wins like that," Southern Miss coach Larry Eustachy said Wednesday.

Golden Eagles sophomore Craig Craft, who is averaging 8.3 points, scored 19 on Wednesday. He had a career-high 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting against Memphis two weeks ago.

The Golden Eagles have lost nine straight against ranked opponents, and are facing a Memphis team which has won 36 consecutive home games against unranked foes.

Article on Former Tiger Player/Coach Larry Finch

Honoring a local hoops legend

by Wally Wellman, The Bartlett (TN) Express
Last modified: Thursday, Jan 25, 2007 - 07:58:23 pm CST

They held a Larry Finch Night at FedEx Forum recently to raise funds for the health care of Larry O. Finch, the legendary kid from Melrose High who went on to star on the basketball court for Memphis State University (now known as The University of Memphis).

The night was intended to be a pledge night for people attending the basketball game to send money to help Finch. The once super-athletic roundball deadeye is now confined to a wheelchair after suffering a stroke a number of years ago.

I don't know what Larry's bills are, but with the costs of healthcare being what they are, I can only imagine how much money it takes to look after someone who has suffered an incapacitating stroke.

Considering the fact that Larry starred on the court almost 40 years ago, I'd like to say a few words about him so that some of the younger people who did not have the pleasure of seeing him perform on the court might get an idea of the magic he used to perform while leading the Tigers to victory after victory.

He could shoot the eyes out of a snake at 40 paces.

Before Larry came to MSU, everyone was wondering who was going to replace Mike Butler, the hot-shooting Memphis guard who carried the Tigers on his back for a number of years during the '60s. Then Finch came on the scene, and everyone quit worrying.

Every time Larry Finch shot the ball, it rotated perfectly, with the same beauty as a perfect spiral being thrown by a football quarterback. His shots had that perfect arc on them, enabling them to take advantage of every square inch of hoop opening. He had a forward-leaning shot, a sideways-leaning shot, and unlike many of today's "premier" players, he shot about 90 percent from the free-throw line. He could make swish shots or bank jumpers off the glass with equal adeptness.

You were never out of a game with Larry Finch on your side - he could bring you back from a double-figure deficit before you could finish a sandwich.

We had a row of guys - about 12 or 15 of us, all MSU students - who sat in the top row of the Mid-South Coliseum for every home game. We didn't have the time or money to travel with the team, so we watched away games on TV or listened to Big Jack Eaton, the greatest television and/or radio announcer of all time, call the plays.

Larry was a natural leader. One night at the Coliseum, the refs were blowing call after call against the Tigers, and the fans had had enough.

They began pelting the floor with ice cups and an ugly scene was about to explode. Game officials were trying to figure out what to do when Finch ran to the announcer's table, took the microphone and asked the fans to please not throw any more ice.

As you might expect, it immediately quit raining ice.

Larry's actions on the court helped forge a winning basketball team, but looking at the big picture, he and his teammates did a lot more than that. Larry and the Tigers brought a divided city together.

Racial tensions were high in the late '60s. But when people of both races attended a Tiger game, the racial divide disappeared, along with any distinguishing colors.

The only colors that mattered were the MSU blue and gray. It didn't make all the problems go away, but it was a good starting point.

I haven't done a good enough job describing the good that Larry Finch has done for the city of Memphis, but let me sum it up like this: I doubt that there has been another single person - mayor, judge, businessman, whatever - who so unselfishly gave of himself for the benefit of his home town, Memphis, Tenn.

I hope that Tiger fans give enough to help Larry out, now that he needs us just like we needed him when the chips were down and the game was on the line.

Doneal Mack's Confidence Is Rising

Mack's confidence is rising

By Jim Masilak
January 26, 2007

When Doneal Mack was given the starting nod in place of the injured Chris Douglas-Roberts last Saturday at East Carolina, the University of Memphis' freshman guard was determined not to disappoint.

Sure, he hoped to impress Tigers coach John Calipari, who just a month earlier had left him languishing on the bench for 40 minutes at Arizona.

But Mack also knew his mother, Lorna Rivers, would be staying up into the wee hours in Germany to watch via the Internet as her son made his first start for the Tigers.
When his parents separated a few years back, Mack continued to live in Charlotte, N.C., with his father, Greg, a former star at the College of Charleston, while Lorna married a career Air Force man and moved abroad, first to Japan and more recently to Germany.

"She hasn't (lived) in the States since I was in the eighth grade," Doneal said before practice Thursday at the Finch Center. "She hasn't seen me play (in person) in three or four years. It's kind of tough, but we still keep in touch."

Despite the distance between them, the bond between mother and son is as strong as ever.

Six months ago, Doneal had Lorna's name tattooed on the right side of his neck, "where everyone could see it." She already had his name etched in ink on her own body, and Doneal breathed a sigh of relief when she approved of his gesture.

"She likes it," he said. "She thought it was good."

Lorna was no doubt even more pleased when her son scored 15 points in 16 minutes in that first start against the Pirates. She stayed up until about 2 a.m. local time watching the 61-44 victory over ECU on

Mack followed that effort with seven points and three rebounds in Wednesday's 72-59 victory over Tulsa while once more spelling Douglas-Roberts, who remained sidelined with a mild high right ankle sprain.

"It's definitely been a confidence-builder," Mack said of his brief run in the starting five. Douglas-Roberts practiced Thursday and expects to play Saturday against Southern Miss. "It's good to feel that Cal has enough confidence in me to take (Douglas-Roberts') spot temporarily.

"I ain't gonna lie. At one point my confidence was real low. I wasn't playing to my expectations or his. It got to the point where I was thinking, dang, I'm not doing real good this year. How's it gonna be my sophomore year, my junior year?"

Things reached a low point on Dec. 20, when Mack sat for the entirety of the Tigers' 79-71 loss to Arizona in Tucson -- the only game this season in which he hasn't played.

At the time, Calipari said he wasn't happy with the way Mack had performed in the pregame shootaround, but the coach said Thursday that there was more to it than that.

"As a freshman, you're gonna be inconsistent. ... But he wasn't coming up with any (loose) balls, he wasn't defending. If you're not defending, I can't play you," Calipari said. "Now he understands. He's getting here early ... and he's playing at another level defensively."

Whereas earlier in the year the 6-5, 170-pound Mack was content to settle for perimeter jumpers, he's now driving more often and showing off his exceptional athleticism.

Mack's 41-inch vertical leap is one of the attributes which led the Tigers to pounce last summer when the former Statesville (N.C.) Christian standout was denied admission to Florida.

His recent run in the starting lineup, Calipari said, should prove a valuable experience for a player likely to fill Jeremy Hunt's sixth-man role next season.

"He's done a real good job," sophomore guard Antonio Anderson said. "He's out there playing real hard and doing what Coach asks him to do. He's got the starting spot right now and he's trying to take advantage of it."

Mack, who is averaging 7.1 points through 18 games for the No. 11-ranked Tigers (16-3, 6-0 in Conference USA), said his success as a starter might not have been possible without his benching in Tucson.

"The Arizona game motivated me to go hard in practice and in games. That really helped me," he said. "What it put in my head was, I've got to do what (Calipari) wants. And now I realize I've still got that killer instinct inside me."

-- Jim Masilak: 529-2311


Next for No. 11 Tigers

Opponent: Southern Miss

When, where: Saturday, noon, at FedExForum

TV: Comcast Sports Southeast (Ch. 6 on cable, not available on satellite)

Great Picture of Tiger Signee Derrick Rose

Comments on Memphis From Hoopinion

From Hoopinion

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Performance in At-risk Games: National Overview through 1/22/07
Let's spend some time with our one-bid friends...

Disclaimer: Obviously, all at-risk games (all losses plus road/neutral wins plus home wins against NCAA Tournament teams) are not created equally so I'll provide more information than just the numbers. I am listing teams in order of efficiency margin (points scored per 100 possessions minus points allowed per 100 possessions) simply as an organizational choice. These are not rankings.

Butler hasn't played any at-risk games since the last national update, but they have continued to hammer their conference opponents. They're the early co-favorites (with Memphis) to lead the nation in average efficiency margin in conference play.

Team Record OffEff DefEff Diff
Memphis 5-3 103 97 +6
vs. C-USA 5-0 113 88 +25

Wins: Oklahoma (+20), Kentucky (+18), @Houston (+15), @Southern Miss (+21), @East Carolina (+26)
Losses: vs. Georgia Tech (-9), @Tennessee (-26), @Arizona (-13)

The Tigers only managed 89 points per 100 possessions in their win at East Carolina. The weakness of the rest of their conference likely won't tell us where exactly they sit on the spectrum of teams who can defend but can't score consistently enough to be expecetd to reach the Final Four.

Kansas and Duke would sit on the high end, UConn would rest near the bottom, and LSU, Tennessee, and Oklahoma would all fall somewhere on the cusp of making the NCAA Tournament.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

AP Story on Memphis vs. Tulsa Game

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) - Joey Dorsey set a dominating tone inside for No. 11 Memphis. It wasn't good enough for coach John Calipari.

Dorsey scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead No. 11 Memphis to a 72-59 victory over Tulsa on Wednesday night.

Dorsey, the 6-foot-9, 260-pound junior, dominated the inside in the first half and the Tigers (16-3, 6-0 Conference USA) built an early lead en route to their eighth straight victory, keeping them undefeated at home.

Despite the numbers, Calipari continued to harp on the Tigers' big man, bellowing at him to hustle and jerking him out of the game when he sensed Dorsey's effort wasn't there.

''Think about it,'' Calipari said. ''He's getting a double-double and I'm not happy, and everybody's looking at me like I'm out of my mind. Well, it depends. If you think I should accept what I think is less than he's capable of, you're right.

''... Joey could have 18 rebounds a game, so if you're capable of that, and I accept getting 12, I'm doing him a disservice.''

Tulsa (12-6, 2-3) lost its third straight, and the Golden Hurricane have lost all four road games this season.

Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik was pleased that his team outrebounded Memphis 46-41, and held the Tigers to not only 40 percent shooting, but also eight points under their average. It was the 16th time out of 18 games that Tulsa has held an opponent under its scoring average.

''We're very good defensively,'' Wojcik said. ''We're a good defensive team, and you're going to earn your points scoring against us. But we also struggled to score.''

Robert Dozier had 12 points and eight rebounds along with four blocks for Memphis, while Jeremy Hunt scored 11 on 4-of-15 shooting from the field.

Ray Reese led Tulsa with 17 points, and Ben Uzoh added 10 and 12 rebounds. Rod Earls, Tulsa's leading scorer at 12.5 points, was limited to three points, missing five of his six shots from the field.

Tulsa was hindered by 18 turnovers and 34 percent shooting from the field.

''I thought we gave them too many layups,'' Wojcik said. ''When we played here last year, we had 11 turnovers for the game. It makes a world of difference between 18 and 11. Of those seven we gave them, five are probably layups.''

Memphis continued to play without leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts, who is recovering from a high ankle sprain.

Tulsa stayed fairly close with Memphis through the first half and the Tigers carried a 38-30 lead into the break.

Memphis used a 14-2 run midway through the half to build its first double-digit advantage as the Golden Hurricane struggled from the field, shooting 29 percent. Tulsa managed to stay within striking distance by switching defenses to throw the Tigers' offense out of rhythm in parts of the half.

Memphis' inside game was the difference. Led by Dorsey's 11 points and eight rebounds in the half, Memphis held a 24-10 advantage in the paint. Combined with 19 points off 11Tulsa turnovers, Memphis took the lead early and didn't relinquish it through the first half.

Memphis maintained the double-digit margin for the bulk of the second half, building the advantage to as many as 16. The Golden Hurricane were hindered by their continued shooting woes, and never seemed to get enough momentum going after the break to substantially cut into the Tiger lead.

But Calipari was disappointed with his team's competitive edge. He said they seemed to go through the motions without challenging the man they were playing against or pushing as hard as possible.

''To get guys to understand to play harder than the guys they are playing against, especially if they think they are better, is a tough challenge,'' Calipari said. ''That's the challenge we have in front of us to see if we can become special.

''Guys don't understand what it means to compete, and they still do fine. My thing is we need to compete against us and not the other team.''

Tigers Replay

Tigers replay
January 25, 2007


The Tigers were nursing a two-point lead midway through the first half before their point guard combination of Willie Kemp and Andre Allen helped spark a decisive 12-0 run. Allen dropped in a layup and Kemp followed with a 3-pointer as Memphis rattled off a dozen straight points in the space of 3 minutes, 13 seconds, increasing its lead to 31-17.


Pierre Niles had played a not-so-grand total of three minutes in the Tigers' previous four games, but the massive freshman forward was thrown into the fray in the first half against the Golden Hurricane. The 6-8, 285-pound Niles played two minutes, hitting a pair of free throws and rebounding one of his two missed shots, before returning to the bench.

Chris Douglas-Roberts' absence allowed coach John Calipari to play Allen and Kemp together for long stretches. With Antonio Anderson also on the floor, Memphis essentially had three point guards on the court at once. The trio combined for eight assists.

After seeing five players log 30 or more minutes in Saturday's win over East Carolina, Calipari went slightly deeper into his bench against the Golden Hurricane. Anderson and Kemp -- who played just 12 minutes against ECU, were the only Tigers to play more than 30 minutes on Wednesday.


Doneal Mack capped his second straight start in place of Douglas-Roberts with a highlight reel dunk. With 7:19 left in the game, Mack took a pass from Kemp and drove past Calvin Walls along the baseline before rising for a big two-handed slam, giving the Tigers a 60-47 lead and bringing a crowd of 15,760 to its feet.


Tulsa guard Rod Earls was lucky to walk away with his head still connected to his shoulders following a second-half collision with Kemp.

When Darold Crow scrambled near midcourt to keep the ball inbounds, flinging it back toward the center circle, Kemp and Earls tangled while heading in opposite directions. Earls hit the floor hard after getting an (accidental) half-clothesline, but got up and walked away none the worse for the wear.


Led by Robert Dozier's four rejections, the Tigers set a season high with 12 blocked shots. Joey Dorsey wiped out three shots and Hunt and Mack swatted two apiece as Memphis altered one shot after another.

"They got their hands on so many balls, it's incredible," Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said.

The Tigers, however, still managed to lose the battle of the boards, with Tulsa outrebounding them 46-41.


"This may have been his worst game since I've coached him."

-- Calipari on the play of senior guard Jeremy Hunt, who missed 11 of his 15 shots from the floor, many of them on wild drives to the basket.


Niles, whose only action of late had been at the end of games, was pleased to get some non-garbage time minutes.

But the former Ridgeway star understands why Calipari has been reluctant to play him more often so far this season.

"I've got to wait my turn. I know I'm not in shape," said Niles, who has yet to regain his fitness following minor preseason knee surgery. "I need to be in shape so I can stay on the floor longer than three or four minutes.

"As long as I get in the game, I'm all right. ... Coach Cal and me are getting on the same page. I'm starting to understand the plays and what he wants from me."

When Tulsa forward Charles Ramsdell missed the second of two free throws with 5:28 left in the first half, it marked the first time all season he failed to convert from the foul line. The senior entered Wednesday's game having gone a perfect 28 for 28 from the line. He ended up 3 for 4 against the Tigers and is now shooting his free throws at a mere 96.9 percent clip.


Tigers vs. Southern Miss, Saturday, noon, at FedExForum

-- Jim Masilak

Geoff Calkins Column "No Apologies As Tigers Rise In The Polls"

No apologies as Tigers rise in the polls

Geoff Calkins
January 25, 2007

Memphis, the No. 11 team in the country ...
That's right, the No. 11 team in the country. Anyone got a problem with that?

"I have them capped at No. 15," said Scott Cacciola, who writes for The Commercial Appeal and has the paper's vote in the AP poll.

"I don't think you can justify it," said Gary Parrish, who used to cover the Tigers for this paper and now writes for


Can't justify it, eh?

"No," Parrish said. "Memphis doesn't have a win over a Top 25 team. I fundamentally disagree with the idea that, after other teams lose difficult conference games, Memphis can climb in the polls by beating bad teams."

Which is one way of looking at it, certainly. The other way is -- um, how to put this -- tough beans.

I say this after watching Memphis dispatch the latest bad team on its schedule, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

Tulsa has an RPI of 164 despite having a forward in Charles Ramsdell who, OK, who has read a lot of books.

It says so, right there in the media notes. Since August of 2006, Ramsdell has read 26 books including "The Iliad," "Divine Comedy," "The Last of the Mohicans" and "Moby Dick."

This is quite an accomplishment. Call me -- no, not Ishmael -- impressed!

Alas, Ramsdell and his teammates are not as prolific on the basketball court. The Tigers won, 72-59, extending its record in Conference USA to a perfect 6-0.

So Memphis fans were left wondering what Memphis fans are always left wondering: What does it all mean?

What does it mean when Joey Dorsey delivers a stunning two-handed block against someone named Sam Mitchell?

What does it mean when Willie Kemp rediscovers his game against a team that lost to Marshall, Houston and North Texas?

"It means we won," said Andre Allen. "Other teams keep losing."


What he said.

Listen, I have no idea if Memphis is the 11th best team in the country. Memphis coach John Calipari even said that Parrish is "probably" right.

But given how thoroughly the broader system of college athletics has shafted the Tigers, if they benefit in one small way from a quirk in the system, they darn sure don't have to apologize.

Wednesday's game was a prime example of that and, at some level, just plain sad. Nothing against Tulsa, mind you. Unlike most of the garbage programs in Conference USA, Tulsa at least tries to be good.

But there were three league games in our area Wednesday night. Two of the visitors were worth making a trip to watch.

Ole Miss hosted Tennessee, led by Bruce Pearl. Mississippi State hosted Florida, led by Billy Donovan.

Memphis hosted Tulsa, led by, quick, can you even name the Tulsa coach? Or any of the Tulsa players? Or -- heck -- any five players from Conference USA?

"We need to try to compete against us, not the other team," said Calipari.

Think he'd say that if the Louisville and Cincinnati were still in the league?

But they're not. Neither are Marquette nor Saint Louis nor Charlotte nor DePaul.

Remarkably, the fans still show up, nearly 16,000, for a late, week-night game utterly lacking in drama or suspense.

Tulsa hit a long jumper to take a 3-0 lead. Memphis went ahead 4-3 and never again trailed.

The fans stayed the whole time, cheering and hooting and generally having fun. It was even a little hard to believe. Coaches always say that fans should come to see their own team play but, c'mon, how many do?

Memphis fans do. They've learned to live with what they have. Even if the entire BCS system is stacked against non-BCS schools. Even if Memphis has a harder time in football and in basketball and in making ends meet.

But the Tigers do get one small compensation: They don't lose as often as teams with more difficult league schedules. And because AP voters tend to drop teams when they lose -- even very good teams -- Memphis continues to rise in the polls.

Last week, Memphis rose from No. 17 to No. 11 while winning games over East Carolina (RPI of 318) and Southern Miss (RPI of 110).

"I don't see how you can make a case for that," said Parrish.

And I don't really care.

To reach Geoff Calkins, call him at 529-2364 or e-mail.

With Leading Scorer Still Out, Tigers Will Their Way Past Tulsa

With leading scorer still out, Tigers will their way past Tulsa
(11) Tigers 72, Tulsa 59

By Dan Wolken
January 25, 2007

They have not looked quite like themselves; not completely. Without leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts in the lineup, the University of Memphis has had to grind and defend, outlast opponents instead of pull away, endure stretches when its offense seems slightly out of sorts.

But there is nothing askew about the Tigers' Conference USA record, or their results. With Douglas-Roberts on the bench for a third straight game because of a sprained right ankle, the No. 11-ranked Tigers beat Tulsa 72-59 before a FedExForum crowd of 15,760.

Though Douglas-Roberts warmed up and was in uniform Wednesday, Memphis ultimately didn't need him. Despite shooting just 39.7 percent from the field and getting outrebounded 46-41, Memphis led practically the whole way and carried a double-digit margin most of the second half.
By winning their eighth consecutive game, the Tigers improved to 16-3 overall and 6-0 in Conference USA. Tulsa fell to 12-6 overall and 2-3 in the league.

"We made a lot of mistakes," senior guard Jeremy Hunt said. "We missed a lot of shots, made a couple dumb plays we shouldn't have made, but that's part of basketball. You're going to do things like that. As long as we come out with the win, I'm satisfied."

Still, the hole left by Douglas-Roberts' absence has seemed far bigger than his 6-6 frame, significantly greater than the 14.8 points per game he provides. And after a lethargic effort Saturday at East Carolina -- a game the Tigers won 61-44 -- Douglas-Roberts badly wanted to get back in the lineup.

But once again, his sore ankle forced him to watch what the Tigers are like without him: A team that struggles with its offensive spacing, a team that can go long stretches without scoring and a team that struggles to close out opponents.

To wit, the Tigers led Tulsa by 14 when sophomore Robert Dozier made two free throws with 7:33 left in the first half, but that margin shrank to 38-30 at halftime.

When Memphis pushed the lead to 16 in the second half, Tulsa came right back. Despite making 21-of-62 field goals and committing 18 turnovers, Tulsa pulled to 58-47 with 7:50 to go.

Only by the sheer will of sophomore guard Antonio Anderson were the Tigers able to halt Tulsa's momentum there, as he snatched a loose ball off his own missed jumper and fed freshman Doneal Mack for a driving slam. The Tigers couldn't exhale until Mack's 3-pointer with 4:45 left, which gave Memphis a 65-49 lead.

"It's definitely different (without Douglas-Roberts)," Anderson said. "He's our main guy on offense, and without him, other guys have to make other plays."

The Tigers made those plays mostly on the defensive end and on the glass. They outscored Tulsa 27-9 off turnovers and gave the Golden Hurricane problems inside, with junior forward Joey Dorsey scoring 13 points with 11 rebounds and Robert Dozier scoring 12 and grabbing nine boards.

"I thought we played with them; I just thought we gave them too many layups," Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said. "Last year, we only had 11 turnovers here, and it makes a world of difference between 18 and 11. Of those seven, probably five of them are layups. If you take away those layups we gave them, I think we battle them."

The good news for Memphis is that Douglas-Roberts should return soon, probably Saturday against Southern Miss.

"More than likely, I'm going to be playing," he said. "Doc told me it's going to hurt, but I asked him, will it heal if I play on it? And he said yeah, so that's all I needed to know."

And it can't come quickly enough for Tigers coach John Calipari, who was happy with the win but not with the Tigers' effort.

"Kareem Cooper in the second half tried to play harder than the other guy instead of just being out there," Calipari said. "Other guys, they don't understand what it means to compete and they still do fine. But my thing is, we need to try to compete against us, not the other team. Let's compete against us and what we're trying to do."

-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365

Cal and Wojcik's Comments on Memphis vs Tulsa Game

Memphis Head Coach John Calipari

"It's a good win for us. We're still trying to get guys to understand to play harder than the guys we're playing against. But that's the challenge we have in front of us -- to see if we can become special."

"Kareem Cooper in the second half tried to play harder than the other guy instead of just being out there. We had other guys who don't understand what it means to compete, and they still do fine. We need to try and compete against us, not the other team. Let's compete against us and what we're trying to do. You know when you're not going hard and when you have an attitude. Just cut it out and let's go."

"I thought Willie (Kemp) was way better. What we did with Willie is we showed him highlights we had cut out with some music and showed him how he's been playing this year. It's been pretty darn good for a freshman, especially against Kentucky and Cincinnati. I could name six or seven games (he played well in). He saw the pace he was playing. It wasn't out of control; he wasn't hurried. He was just playing. I think we did a couple of things, and I think it helped him. It calmed him a little bit."

"We still have a ways to go. It was a good win against a pretty good team as the league kind of shakes out. This team played us and it was a slower game. We still scored 72."

Tulsa Head Coach Doug Wojcik

"We won the war on the boards, and I'm proud of that. We really hustled. I told the team, 'I loved 19 offensive rebounds, but how about five more made baskets.' In terms of shooting the basketball better, we shot the ball very well from the three."

"(Ray) Reese is playing incredibly well. Ben (Uzoh) played a lot of minutes. He didn't shoot the ball great, but he still gets himself a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds. Mark Hill is a work in progress. I want him to stop driving toward the baseline. He gets himself in a lot of trouble there, and we lose floor bounds and give up lay-ups at the other end."

"If we eliminate some of those turnovers and those easy baskets, our defense guarded (and the result could have been different). They shoot 39 percent from the three, and they shoot 69 from the free-throw line. They have 12 blocked shots, and we're a pretty good shot blocking team, but they got their hands on so many balls it's just incredible."

"We're learning, and at the end of the game, we have two sophomores and three freshman on the floor. I'm proud of that although I just want better results. It's three games we've lost now, and we have to turn it around come Saturday."

"Memphis is very athletic. (Joey) Dorsey could be in the NFL instead of the NBA. Robert Dozier is a good player and a touch match-up for Charles Ramsdell."

Official Box Score - Memphis 72, Tulsa 59

Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
Tulsa vs Memphis
01/24/07 8:00 pm at Memphis, Tenn. (FedExForum)
VISITORS: Tulsa 12-6 (2-3)
41 RAMSDELL, Charles... f 2-4 1-2 3-4 1 3 4 4 8 1 1 0 0 15
45 MITCHELL, Sam....... c 1-6 0-0 3-4 0 1 1 4 5 1 3 1 0 24
01 UZOH, Ben........... g 3-14 2-3 2-2 4 8 12 2 10 1 5 1 1 34
02 HILL, Mark.......... g 3-6 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 2 7 3 2 0 1 31
33 EARLS, Rod.......... g 1-6 1-4 0-0 1 2 3 2 3 0 2 2 0 19
04 WALLS, Calvin....... 1-4 0-0 0-0 3 3 6 3 2 0 1 0 0 16
15 CROW, Darold........ 0-4 0-2 0-0 3 2 5 0 0 1 2 0 0 11
22 McLEAN, Jamel....... 3-6 0-0 1-4 2 3 5 2 7 1 1 2 0 20
23 JORDAN, Jerome...... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 2
42 COLEMAN, Sean....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
53 REESE, Ray.......... 7-11 2-3 1-2 0 2 2 1 17 0 1 0 0 27
TEAM................ 5 5
Totals.............. 21-62 7-16 10-16 19 27 46 20 59 9 18 6 2 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-35 28.6% 2nd Half: 11-27 40.7% Game: 33.9% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-8 50.0% 2nd Half: 3-8 37.5% Game: 43.8% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 6-8 75.0% 2nd Half: 4-8 50.0% Game: 62.5% 4,1

HOME TEAM: Memphis 16-3 (6-0)
02 Dozier, Robert...... f 3-8 0-0 6-9 4 4 8 3 12 0 1 4 3 28
32 Dorsey, Joey........ f 6-14 0-0 1-2 7 4 11 2 13 1 2 3 1 25
01 Kemp, Willie........ g 4-5 1-1 0-0 1 6 7 1 9 3 1 0 2 32
12 Anderson, Antonio... g 2-6 0-2 3-4 1 2 3 4 7 4 2 1 4 34
20 Mack, Doneal........ g 3-7 1-3 0-0 0 3 3 1 7 1 2 2 1 17
04 Niles, Pierre....... 0-2 0-0 2-2 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 2
05 Hunt, Jeremy........ 4-15 2-8 1-3 0 2 2 1 11 0 1 2 2 25
15 Allen, Andre........ 1-4 0-2 2-2 0 1 1 1 4 1 1 0 1 24
42 Cooper, Kareem...... 2-2 0-0 3-4 2 0 2 2 7 0 0 0 0 13
TEAM................ 1 2 3 1
Totals.............. 25-63 4-16 18-26 17 24 41 15 72 10 11 12 14 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-35 42.9% 2nd Half: 10-28 35.7% Game: 39.7% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-9 33.3% 2nd Half: 1-7 14.3% Game: 25.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 5-6 83.3% 2nd Half: 13-20 65.0% Game: 69.2% 1
Officials: Steve Olson, Tim Higgins, Warren Evans
Technical fouls: Tulsa-None. Memphis-None.
Attendance: 15760
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
Tulsa......................... 30 29 - 59
Memphis....................... 38 34 - 72

Points in the paint-TLS 24,MEM 42. Points off turnovers-TLS 9,MEM 27.
2nd chance points-TLS 15,MEM 20. Fast break points-TLS 2,MEM 4.
Bench points-TLS 26,MEM 24. Score tied-0 times. Lead changed-1 time.
Last FG-TLS 2nd-01:02, MEM 2nd-01:47.
Largest lead-TLS by 3 1st-19:22, MEM by 16 2nd-12:04.

CDR Doesn't Play, Tigers Beat Tulsa 72-59

Tigers Stay Perfect In C-USA Play, Beat Tulsa 72-59
Joey Dorsey records double double in win.

Jan. 24, 2007

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -Joey Dorsey scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead No. 11 Memphis to a 72-59 victory over Tulsa on Wednesday night.

Dorsey dominated the inside in the first half and the Tigers (16-3, 6-0 Conference USA) built an early lead en route to their eighth straight victory, keeping them undefeated at home.

Tulsa (12-6, 2-3) lost its third straight, and the Golden Hurricane have lost all four road games this season.

Robert Dozier had 12 points and eight rebounds for Memphis, while Jeremy Hunt scored 11 on 4-of-15 shooting from the field.

Ray Reese led Tulsa with 17 points, and Ben Uzoh added 10. Rod Earls, Tulsa's leading scorer at 12.5 points, was limited to three points, missing five of his six shots from the field.

Tulsa was hindered by 18 turnovers and 34 percent shooting from the field.

Memphis continued to play without leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts, who still is recovering from a high ankle sprain.

Tulsa stayed fairly tight with Memphis through the first half before the Tigers carried a 38-30 lead into the half.

Memphis used a 14-2 run midway through the half to build it's first double-digit advantage as the Golden Hurricane struggled from the field, shooting 29 percent. Tulsa managed to stay within striking distance by switching defenses to throw the Tigers' offense out of rhythm in parts of the half.

The Memphis inside game was the difference. Led by Dorsey's 11 points and eight rebounds in the half, Memphis held a 24-10 advantage in the paint. Combined with 19 points off 11 Tulsa turnovers, Memphis took the lead early and didn't relinquish it through the first half.

Memphis maintained the double-digit lead in the bulk of the second half, building the advantage to as many as 16. The Golden Hurricane were hindered by their continued shooting woes, and never seemed to get enough momentum going after the break to cut substantially into the Tiger lead.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

CDR Expected to Play vs. Tulsa Wednesday

Tigers' top scorer likely to play vs. Hurricane

By Dan Wolken
January 23, 2007

University of Memphis leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts, who has missed the last two games with a mild high ankle sprain, participated in some practice drills Monday and said he expected to play Wednesday against Tulsa.

"I don't think I can sit another game out," Douglas-Roberts said. "Being a competitor, I hate watching. More than likely, I'll be playing."

Douglas-Roberts, a sophomore guard who averages 14.8 points per game, injured his right ankle Jan. 11 at Houston but finished that game and played two days later at Southern Miss, where he scored 23 points.

But the injury progressively got worse, and Douglas-Roberts took himself out fewer than two minutes into Memphis' 79-54 victory over UAB last Tuesday.

Though Memphis didn't need him to beat East Carolina on Saturday, the Tigers were held to just two field goals during a 15-minute stretch in the first half, something that probably wouldn't have happened if Douglas-Roberts, whose nickname is "Buckets," had been available.

But coach John Calipari said he won't rush Douglas-Roberts back into the lineup, especially with the way freshman guard Doneal Mack played in his first career start Saturday.

"I told him, if you have to stay out a few more days, stay out," Calipari said. "We've got enough guys on this team. It's time for guys to be able to step up. I thought Doneal did a heck of a job stepping in and doing things and filled the role we needed. He got 15 points in 16 minutes. I'm not sure Chris could have done that."

If Douglas-Roberts returns Wednesday against the Golden Hurricane, his minutes will likely be limited. Asked whether he had to weigh the long-term possibilities in his decision to play, he said, "You do, but this might be a season-long thing. It's going to hurt, and I'll just have to play through pain."

Though Douglas-Roberts did play at full speed for short stretches Monday, he sat out more than half of the drills.

Poll watch: With several teams in front of them losing games last week, the Tigers (15-3, 5-0 Conference USA) made a significant jump from No. 17 to No. 11 in Monday's Associated Press poll. The Tigers climbed from No. 18 to No. 14 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll.

Memphis, however, fell from No. 11 to No. 15 over the past week in the Ratings Percentage Index, mostly because playing East Carolina (rated No. 319) significantly hurt the Tigers' strength of schedule.

-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365


Next for No. 11 Tigers

Opponent: Tulsa

When, where: Wednesday, 8 p.m., at FedExForum


Memphis Tigers in National NCAA Statistics

Chicago Tribune Article on Derrick Rose, Simeon High School

Rose, Simeon sparkle in spotlight

By Bob Sakamoto
Tribune staff reporter
Published January 19, 2007

Every once in a while, a game comes along that transcends the usual boundaries of high school basketball.

It happened four years ago when LeBron James became a national phenomenon and had two of his games televised by ESPN2 on his way to becoming the NBA's top draft choice.

Thursday night at the UIC Pavilion was another one of those special moments when Simeon upset Oak Hill Academy (Va.), the nation's No. 1 team, 78-75 in front of a partisan crowd of 3,070.

It was the first high school basketball game televised nationally by the main ESPN network.

"It feels great," said Simeon standout Derrick Rose who just missed a triple-double with 28 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. "Before the game I was thinking I wanted to make history. LeBron, Greg Oden, none of them had played on ESPN.

"We came out strong because of my teammates, who believed in me. I wanted to attack early and then get them involved. Guys like Kenyon Smith (nine points), Daniel Green (11 points), Kevin Johnson (18 points, 10 rebounds), Tim Flowers (10 points, 10 rebounds) stepped it up."

Former Bulls guard B.J. Armstrong, now a vice-president of a Los Angeles media company, flew in to see the game.

"I've got to see Derrick Rose every chance I get," Armstrong said. "He is the best high school guard I have ever seen and has a chance to be something really special. He has all the ingredients to be a Hall-of-Famer. We'll see how it plays out."

Playing inspired ball, Simeon shot to a 40-30 halftime lead. Rose consistently beat Duke-bound Nolan Smith off the dribble to set up Daniel Green for three-pointers and setting up Johnson for layups.

The 6-foot-6-inch Johnson soared to the offensive backboard, outleaping Oak Hill's pair of 6-9 forwards, Howard Thompkins and Florida State signee Julian Vaughn. With Oak Hill defenders swarming toward Rose, Johnson made a living off weak-side putbacks.

"After losing to Rice in New York (on Sunday), it was a real downfall," Rose said. "Now we've got the momentum."

Simeon (13-2) led 68-54 when Oak Hill's Southern California recruit Brandon Jennings (19 points) scored 16 points in 2 minutes, 40 seconds. But Rose hit enough free throws down the stretch to hold off Oak Hill (22-1), which was led by Michigan-bound Alex Legion's 23 points.

Copyright © 2007, Chicago Tribune

Memphis Jumps 5 Spots to #11 in AP Poll

Memphis jumps 5 spots to #11 in latest AP Poll

Former Memphis Tiger Rodney Carney Adjusting to the NBA

Ex-Tiger Carney adjusting

Sixers rookie has had inconsistent season
By Marlon W. Morgan

January 18, 2007

Nearly three months into his rookie season with the Philadelphia 76ers, Rodney Carney is finding professional basketball to be like a whirlwind.

He's endured the usual ups and downs that all rookies go through with inconsistent play, which usually results in inconsistent playing time. Meanwhile, he's still learning the ins and outs of the NBA game.

And he's even had his share of off-the-court drama, first, with the Allen Iverson saga, which was followed by the circus surrounding Chris Webber's buyout last week.
But through it all, the former University of Memphis star has been able to endure, with the help of his teammates.

''The biggest thing I can say is some games you play, some games you don't,'' Carney said. ''You have to take it in stride. It's all a learning experience and I'm fine with it. I've got to get better and that's what I'm going to do.''

For those who watched Carney at the UofM, that's not surprising. He had the same approach while with the Tigers, where he started 101 games and came off the bench for 32 others.

Each year, though, he improved his game. And after leading the Tigers to an Elite Eight appearance last season when he averaged 17.2 points a game, Carney was the 16th player taken in last June's NBA draft.

Carney is averaging 5.3 points for the Sixers. He's started 15-of-36 games, posting career highs of 25 points and eight rebounds in a loss at Golden State Dec. 26.

''Rodney's been pretty good,'' Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks said. ''He's started some games, but he's come off the bench more than he's started. There have been times that he's been better than others, like the very first game he started he was very good against New Jersey. He had some good games after that.

''When people ask me about Rodney I always say he's still a rookie. He's an energy guy. He can get up and down the floor and do some spectacular things, but he still has a lot to learn.''

The main thing Carney has had to learn is to slow down. More often than not, he's played the game way too fast instead slowing down and getting into the flow of the game.

''He's really active and he's very fast out on the court,'' teammate Andre Iguodala said. ''At times you'll catch him going too fast. You have to tell him to slow down and just let things come to him.

''I think for him that's the biggest adjustment. Defensively, he's had to guard some tough wing guys. When we go and play New Jersey, they have two big guns on the wing in Richard Jefferson and Vince Carter. He has to learn how to guard one of them and stay out of foul trouble.''

Carney returned to FedExForum for the first time as a pro player Wednesday night as the Sixers lost, 118-102. Carney had a less than memorable experience, scoring eight points on 3-of-8 shooting, which included a couple of air balls and fumbling the ball away as he went up for a dunk.

But he was received well by the announced crowd of 14,681, which gave him an ovation when he entered the game with 1:23 left in the first quarter. He was often matched up against Grizzlies rookie Rudy Gay, who snapped out of a scoring slump to match his career high of 23 points.

Carney also got to take in the Tigers' win over UAB Tuesday night, where he got a loud standing ovation.

''It was nice to see that atmosphere again,'' he said. ''I kind of forgot what that was like, but I got a big reminder (Tuesday).''

With the help of players like Iguodala and veteran point guard Kevin Ollie, Carney plans to continue soaking up as much as he can until he's able to contribute on a more consistent basis.

''Since my first game in the NBA, I realized it's a non-stop pace,'' he said. ''It's boom-boom. Guys are so good that everyone will make a shot, no matter who they are. They'll get 20 on you on any given night. You've just got to make sure you try to defend them or contain them as much as possible.''

Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Jan. 22 (Memphis Tigers a 3 Seed)

Monday, January 22, 2007
Bracketology 101's Field of 65 - Jan. 22

The Breakdown
Two heads are always better than one when compiling a bracket, and for the first time in a while, that was the case again at Bracketology 101. Craig took some time off from his Marine schedule and chipped in with his opinions and bracket expertise this week. The result, as has been the case in recent weeks, was a lot of movement on and around the bubble.

This week proved to be particularly interesting because it involved some changes to our projections of several teams and conferences. The team suffering the biggest fall this week was Boston College, who dropped out of the bracket altogether (from a 9 seed) with the news that center Sean Williams - the team's second best player and top defender - had been kicked off the team. Another factor in BC's removal was their brutal stretch of conference games at the end of February that, without Williams, could ultimately doom their tourney hopes. Overall, the ACC is getting tougher to figure out each week, as eight teams are viable options for bids. Florida State's upset win over Virginia Tech earned it the ACC's sixth bid. Maryland, at 1-4 in conference, is the league's seventh and final team in right now, and the Terps need to pick up some more good ACC wins soon to stay there.

The second biggest free-fall of the week was made by LSU, who fell from an admittedly high 4 seed to a 9 seed. Their current seed is mostly a projection, as the Tigers have too much talent to continue to play as inconsistently as they have in recent weeks. LSU was joined in this week's backet by the SEC's seventh bid, Vanderbilt. The Commodores make the field thanks to huge wins this week over Alabama and Kentucky.

The MVC continues to be a mess, as Missouri State and Creighton both lost twice (the Bluejays did win at Bradley, though). Both teams are hanging on to spots in the bracket, but more and more it looks like the MVC might end up being a 3-team league. Northern Iowa and Southern Illinois look solid right now, but all of the top- and middle-tier teams in the conference are beating each other up too much, especially on the road, for this to be a 5-team or maybe even a 4-team league as some predicted. Creighton, which already has seven losses, will be the next MVC team out if they don't beat Missouri State this week.

The Big East saw two of its teams, UConn and West Virginia, drop out of the bracket this week, while a hot Villanova team, off wins over Notre Dame and Texas, made its bracket return. The Big XII, meanwhile, picked up a bid thanks to Texas Tech's upset of Kansas.

The mid-majors also proved to be very interesting this week. Despite their loss to St. Joe's and thanks to a win over UMass last Thursday, Xavier remains our pick out of the one-bid A-10. Even though VCU finally had a semi-credible conference win in beating ODU, we still project the Colonial right now to be a one-bid league and are sticking with Hofstra as that one team. Our lone two-bid conferences remain the MWC and the WAC. We admittedly looked pretty foolish Wednesday as New Mexico State lost to pitiful Louisiana Tech, but our season-long love of the Aggies was rewarded Saturday, as they knocked off Nevada. The win not only confirmed our projection that they pose a huge threat to the Wolfpack come conference tournament time, but it also gave a serious boost to their at-large hopes. We'll see how many bracket experts jump aboard the Aggies bandwagon now...

Here is Bracketology 101's Field of 65 for Jan. 22:

Last Four In
Syracuse, Creighton, Missouri State, Maryland

Last Four Out
Boston College, West Virginia, Michigan, Drexel

Conference Breakdown
ACC (7), SEC (7), Pac-10 (6), Big East (6), Big XII (5), MVC (4), Big Ten (4), MWC (2), WAC (2)

America East - Vermont

ACC - North Carolina, Duke, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Florida State, Maryland

Atlantic Sun - Belmont

A-10 - Xavier

Big East - Pittsburgh, Marquette, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Villanova, Syracuse

Big Sky - Idaho State

Big South - Winthrop

Big Ten - Wisconsin, Ohio State, Indiana, Michigan State

Big 12 - Texas A&M, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas Tech

Big West - Long Beach State

Colonial - Hofstra

C-USA - Memphis

Horizon - Butler

Ivy - Penn

Metro Atlantic - Loyola (MD)

MAC - Ohio

MCC - Oral Roberts

MEAC - Delaware State

MVC - Southern Illinois, Norther Iowa, Creighton, Missouri State

MWC - Air Force, UNLV

Northeast - Sacred Heart

Ohio Valley - Austin Peay

Pac-10 - UCLA, Oregon, Arizona, Washington State, USC, Stanford

Patriot - Holy Cross

SEC - Florida, Alabama, LSU, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas

Southern - Appalachian State

Southland - Texas A&M-Corpus Christi

SWAC - Jackson State

Sun Belt - Western Kentucky

WAC - Nevada, New Mexico State

WCC - Gonzaga

The Seeds
The 1s
UCLA, Florida, North Carolina, Wisconsin

The 2s
Oregon, Ohio State, Texas A&M, Kansas

The 3s
Pittsburgh, Duke, Memphis, Oklahoma State

The 4s
Air Force, Clemson, Alabama, Arizona

The 5s
Washington State, Marquette, Butler, Nevada

The 6s
Indiana, Notre Dame, Virginia Tech, Kentucky

The 7s
USC, Tennessee, UNLV, Southern Illinois

The 8s
Texas, Georgetown, Northern Iowa, Texas Tech

The 9s
Villanova, Stanford, Michigan State, LSU

The 10s
Georgia Tech, Arkansas, Florida State, Vanderbilt

The 11s
Gonzaga, Syracuse, Creighton, Missouri State

The 12s
Maryland, Xavier, New Mexico State, Hofstra

The 13s
Winthrop, Western Kentucky, Ohio, Appalachian State

The 14s
Oral Roberts, Vermont, Holy Cross, Penn

The 15s
Loyola (MD), Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Idaho State, Long Beach State

The 16s
Belmont, Austin Peay, Sacred Heart, Delaware State (Play-In Game), Jackson State (Play-In Game)

Questions? Comments? E-mail Bracketology 101 at

Memphis Flyer - "From My Seat: Questions and (a Few) Answers

FROM MY SEAT: Questions and (a Few) Answers

Memphis Flyer

I'm still trying to figure out the 2006-07 Memphis Tigers. Having won seven straight games, the Tigers appear to be running away with a second consecutive Conference USA championship. But that's part of the catch, isn't it? They're running away with, well, the C-USA championship. Sorry, but such title runs don't make the cover of Sports Illustrated. What will this team have to offer come March? Who is the go-to player in crunch time? (What would you have said a year ago about the answer to that question being Jeremy Hunt?) Can coach John Calipari toughen his young squad in ways C-USA competition cannot?

The answers to these questions await as winter winds gradually give way to spring's thaw. But for this week, here are three lessons we have learned at the season's midpoint.

RECLAMATION RULES. Among the new slogans I've heard Calipari preach this season is, "It's about the path, not the prize." If such is the case, the paths taken by Jeremy Hunt and Kareem Cooper have been as winding -- and rocky -- as a mistreated ski trail. A season ago, Hunt was "permanently" suspended for a pair of assaults that had the sharp-shooting swingman appearing at 201 Poplar. As for Cooper, the sophomore center was suspended for the first eight games this season for transgressions away from the basketball court. Were it not for his teammates making a public appeal, Cooper may well have played his last game as a Tiger.

Cutting to the present, Hunt is the team's second-leading scorer (13.6 points per game through Saturday's win at East Carolina) and one of the top sixth men in the country. Cooper has embraced the role of Joey Dorsey's backup, and played so well that highly touted freshman Pierre Niles has been a casualty of the limited minutes. Cooper's soft hands -- particularly evident on his lefty hook shoot -- complement the fearsome play of Dorsey and create matchup problems for Memphis opponents that can't go as large off the bench.

REBOUNDING WINS. Duh. There have been but three games this season in which the Tigers were outrebounded. Those games were against Georgia Tech, Tennessee, and Arizona. Precisely the three games Memphis has lost. The Tigers are easy to brand as "small," considering the number of guards (six) they have in their nine-man rotation. But Dorsey has averaged just under 10 boards a game, Robert Dozier is pulling down almost six per contest, and Chris Douglas-Roberts is one of the best rebounding guards you'll ever see in a Tiger uniform. Add Kareem Cooper to the mix (more than five rebounds a game off the bench), and you have a team that can clean glass with the best of them. Well, at least the best C-USA has to offer (that qualifier, once again).

GUARDS, GUARDS, GUARDS. (Might be a nice rewrite for Motley Crue.) CDR, Hunt, Antonio Anderson, Andre Allen, Willie Kemp, and Doneal Mack. Six push-it-up playmakers crammed into a total of 200 player minutes per game. While it may have fans checking the scoreboard to remember who's in and who's out, Calipari is enjoying the luxury of substituting -- now! -- for any ball-handler who isn't getting the job done, at either end of the floor. With their top scorer (Douglas-Roberts) forced to the bench with an ankle injury early in last week's UAB game, Calipari utilized Mack for 20 minutes and got seven points and three assists out of the exchange. "I told Chris," said a smiling Calipari after the game, "you better be worried about your position right now, if that kid plays like that."

Through Saturday's win, Kemp, Allen, and Anderson have combined for 177 assists and only 93 turnovers. For some perspective, consider that last season, Darius Washington -- the team's starting point guard -- had 110 assists and 111 turnovers. It's the kind of efficiency that lets a coaching staff sleep well at night. And the kind of team play that helps a fan keep hope in his hip pocket, however many other questions remain to be answered.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

ECU Game Cost Tigers 5 Spots in RPI, Memphis now #15, #10 in Pomeroy, #12 in Sagarin

Memphis' victory over C-USA last place ECU (#318) combined with losses by Arizona (#4), Kentucky (#7), Georgia Tech (#33) and Ole Miss (#93) cost Memphis five spots in the RPI down to #15.

The Tigers retained their 10th place in Ken Pomeroy's rankings (25th Offense, 10th Defense, 10th Overall).

Memphis is #12 in Sagarin

Pictures From Memphis vs. ECU Game

Pirates Fail to Tame Tigers Again - From the Greenville NC Daily Reflector

Pirates fail to tame Tigers again

By Tony Castleberry
The Greenville (NC) Daily Reflector
Sunday, January 21, 2007

Memphis had a much easier time this year in Minges Coliseum.

But the No. 17 Tigers needed a second-half scoring outburst, aided by 25 free throws after halftime, to post a 61-44 victory over East Carolina (5-12, 0-4 Conference USA) in C-USA men's basketball action Saturday night. Memphis escaped Greenville with a 77-67 win last January, when the Tigers were ranked fifth in the nation.

It was a little more difficult this time around for coach John Calipari's club, which was without starting forward Chris Douglas-Roberts, who missed the game due to an ankle injury.

"In the second half we were more aggressive and did some good stuff," Calipari said. "Still, we turned it over 14 times in the first half. I mean, come on. You're on pace to get 30 turnovers. That's like an eighth-grade team."

Despite the turnovers and poor shooting, Jeremy Hunt and Doneal Mack, along with Memphis' stifling full-court pressure defense, allowed the Tigers (15-3, 5-0) to build a comfortable second-half cushion. Hunt led all players with 16 points and Mack, a freshman from Statesville, chipped in 15 to help Memphis move to 5-0 all-time against East Carolina.

But the Hunt-Mack combination and the Tigers' 48-33 advantage on the boards weren't the main reasons for concern for ECU. Memphis forced 24 Pirate turnovers and scored 19 points off ECU giveaways.

"It was the first time we've had a team press us to that extent, but it's hard to simulate their size and athletic ability," ECU coach Ricky Stokes said. "We had a hard time getting it across halfcourt."

The lead changed hands five times early in the second half, but a 7-0 Memphis run capped by Robert Dozier's putback dunk gave the Tigers a 33-28 lead with 16 minutes, 30 seconds remaining.

Mack scored 10 consecutive Memphis points to stretch the Tigers lead to 45-32 with 12:27 left in the game.

The Pirates closed to within 48-38 on Darrell Jenkins' jumper with 8:19 remaining, but could get no closer.

A 7-minute, 19-second field goal drought followed Jenkins' bucket and Memphis stretched its lead to as many as 21 points during that span.

"When we went in at halftime, we knew we didn't play like we wanted to play," said Hunt, who scored 13 of his points after intermission. "We just came out and tried to get on (the Pirates) early. We had the mind frame of play hard defense, rebound and get easy buckets."

Dozier scored 12 points and was one of three Tigers to grab at least 10 rebounds. Joey Dorsey pulled down a game-high 15 boards — eight of them of the offensive variety — and Antonio Anderson finished with 11 rebounds.

East Carolina freshman John Fields backed up his career-high 17-point night Wednesday against Tulane with a team-high 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting Saturday. But Fields was the only Pirate to score more than five points and ECU finished shooting just 36.2 percent from the field.

The 6-foot-9 Fayetteville Jack Britt product, who weighs 200 pounds, got some serious on-the-job training, having to battle down low with Dorsey (260 pounds) and Dozier, one of C-USA best leapers.

"Dozier, Dorsey, (Kareem) Cooper (290 pounds) . . . 200 and something across the board," Fields said. "It was the biggest challenge I've had yet. They played tough on the inside."

After Memphis took a 20-16 lead at the 2:50 mark in the first half, ECU closed the half with a 5-1 run and tied it 21-all on Fields' putback at the first-half buzzer. The teams combined to turn the ball over 27 times in the first half — 14 for the Pirates and 13 for Memphis.

However, the Tigers cured their turnover problems after the break, with just three second-half giveaways.

The Pirates will try to snap their four-game losing streak when the travel to Southern Miss Wednesday for an 8 p.m. tip-off.

Tony Castleberry can be reached at (252) 329-9591 or at

Tigers Replay

Tigers replay

January 21, 2007


When Courtney Captain hit a 3-pointer with 17:16 left, giving East Carolina a 23-21 lead, the upset watch was legitimately on. Nothing was going right for Memphis, from free-throw shooting to defensive breakdowns to sloppy turnovers. But with 17:06 left, senior guard Jeremy Hunt drew a foul shooting a 3-pointer and made all three free throws, putting the Tigers back in front 24-23. It was pretty much all Memphis from there. The Tigers scored the next eight points, keying 21-4 run that gave Memphis a 15-point lead with 11:11 left.


Freshman Willie Kemp's point guard struggles are beginning to become a major issue. Kemp turned the ball over on Memphis' first two possessions, forcing coach John Calipari to pull him 42 seconds into the game in favor of Andre Allen. Kemp played just five minutes in the first half, while Allen manned the point for 17. Calipari said he will have to evaluate the point guard situation, especially given that Kemp has struggled in all three of the Tigers' C-USA road games. Kemp played just 12 minutes total Saturday. "He's got to figure it out. I've got to figure it out," Calipari said. "I've got to make it (simpler) for him. But let me just say, 'turnover, turnover, missed shot.' You've got to come out (after that)."


It took a while, but the Tigers finally executed a pretty play with 2:23 left. After a steal, sophomore guard Antonio Anderson led a 3-on-1 fastbreak. He had a number of options, including taking the ball himself or simply slowing it down to milk some time off the clock. Instead, he looked off his defender and lobbed an alley-oop pass up high for Joey Dorsey, who came in from the left block to jam it in and give Memphis a 57-39 lead. Minges Coliseum, which just a few minutes earlier had been full and boisterous, emptied out almost as soon as Dorsey's dunk hit the bottom of the net.


East Carolina's sagging defense suckered Memphis into taking too many 3-pointers. The Tigers made their first two for an early 6-0 lead but went 2-of-21 the rest of the way. Hunt went 1-for-6, Doneal Mack went 2-for-6, and Allen went 1-for-5. "They kind of collapsed in the lane so much, but we've got to take them because if we don't shoot (Calipari) is going to pull us out," Hunt said.


Memphis' free-throw shooting appeared to be getting better, but it regressed significantly early. The Tigers went 6-for-14 in the first half, with Mack the only Memphis player able to go 2-for-2 on any trip to the line. But even then, Mack went 0-for-2 on his first trip. Robert Dozier drew a foul to start the second half and front-rimmed both attempts. The Tigers regrouped, however, and hit their next 13. They finished 23-of-39.


"We had some guys struggle today but I like my team. I'm not trading with anybody I've seen on TV. We're fine. We have enough (depth) that I can just go to another guy until I figure out who's ready to go. And when we're all nine ready to go, we're pretty darn good. We just didn't hit it today." -- Calipari


Leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts, who sat out due to a right ankle sprain, said it was difficult to watch the Tigers, especially given how much they struggled in the first half. Douglas-Roberts will have the ankle evaluated Monday to see if he might be able to play Wednesday against Tulsa. "It's hard watching games, I ain't gonna lie," Douglas-Roberts said. "I feel my ankle getting stronger, and hopefully I'll be back by next game. It's tough. I'm glad the game is over."

When Hunt shot three free throws to give Memphis the lead for good with 17:16 left, it seemed like a questionable call, especially to the 6,064 fans at Minges Coliseum. Hunt admitted after the game, he embellished his fall a bit. "I don't think it was (a foul)," Hunt said. "The ref asked me, 'Do you work on getting your leg kicked out like that?' It was a Reggie Miller trick."


Tigers vs. Tulsa, Wednesday, 8 p.m., at FedExForum

-- Dan Wolken

Sluggish and Sloppy, Tigers Escape Pirates' Upset Bid

Sluggish and sloppy, Tigers escape Pirates' upset bid

By Dan Wolken
January 21, 2007

GREENVILLE, N.C. -- The moment John Calipari knew what kind of day this was going to be came long before his team clanked eight of its first 14 free throws and committed 14 first-half turnovers, long before Joey Dorsey tried to dribble through his legs (emphasis on tried to) and long before some East Carolina students started chanting "Overrated" with 3:28 left in the first half.

No, Calipari sensed the struggle he'd have on his hands before the No. 17-ranked Memphis Tigers even arrived at Minges Coliseum on Saturday.

"They were on the bus, messing around," Calipari said. "I heard it and didn't say anything. I got in the locker room. They're joking around 25 minutes before the game. Now, I'm smoking. There's smoke coming out of my ears, but I'm thinking, they understand. And then ... you saw what happened."
Though the final score read Memphis 61, East Carolina 44, nobody in the Tigers camp could claim that it felt like a 17-point win.

Against the nation's 323rd-ranked team according to the RPI, the Tigers had to fight much harder than they expected to secure their seventh straight victory, improving their record to 15-3 overall and 5-0 in Conference USA.

And frankly, it could have been worse.

On a night when Memphis shot 30.9 percent, committed 17 turnovers and didn't have the services of leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts due to a right ankle sprain, the Tigers finally took control with a 21-4 run, giving them a 47-32 lead with 11:11 left. But even then, the Tigers had to grind it out by making 13 straight free throws and constantly pressuring ECU, which finished with 24 turnovers.

Without Douglas-Roberts, the Tigers couldn't get their spacing offensively and got suckered into taking too many 3-pointers, finishing 4-of-23 for the game. The only thing Memphis could do, seemingly, was try to stay aggressive and get to the free-throw line, where it made 23-of-39 compared to ECU's 8-of-18.

But the second half was far prettier than the first, in which Memphis could only manage a 21-21 tie after failing to break down ECU's zone defense and scoring just two field goals in a span of 15:30.

"That was probably the worst half we've played all year, and we knew that," freshman Doneal Mack, who started in Douglas-Roberts' place, said. "We can't come out like that. Not to knock ECU, but they're struggling and we can't come out like that."

Calipari said he didn't come into the locker room yelling or screaming, but made his point by saying just "seven words." Though he wasn't willing to share which seven, the insinuation was clear. And the message, more or less, got through.

Dorsey, who tried to do too much in the first half, got back to his game in the second and finished with 15 rebounds and seven points. Sophomore forward Robert Dozier, who had just three points in the first half, scored nine in the second and finished with 12 rebounds. Mack scored 10 straight Memphis points early in the second half, giving the Tigers a 45-32 lead.

And senior guard Jeremy Hunt, who struggled from 3-point range (1-for-6), drove aggressively and finished with a team-high 16, drawing fouls and making baseline runners.

"It was a real rough game," Hunt said. "We didn't play how we wanted to play at the start. The game plan didn't go how we wanted, but we did it to ourselves. We said we're going to have to get together as a team and pull this out. It just seemed like we didn't play with the same emotion we had been playing with, but we picked it up in the second half."

It was such a rough game, the Tigers had to use Dozier for 34 minutes, Dorsey for 30, Hunt for 30, backup point guard Andre Allen for 32 and Antonio Anderson for 36.

And still, ECU played with enough energy and emotion in front of 6,064 fans to give the Tigers a scare here for the second straight year.

"We didn't handle the ball very well in the second half or make some key free throws, and that really hurt us," ECU coach Ricky Stokes said. "They really hurt us on the boards. Dorsey was just too much for us."

-- Dan Wolken: 529-2365

Official Box Score - Memphis 61, East Carolina 44

Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
Memphis vs East Carolina
01/20/07 6 p.m. at Greenville, N.C.
VISITORS: Memphis 15-3,5-0
02 Dozier, Robert...... f 3-9 0-0 6-10 2 8 10 1 12 1 2 1 1 34
32 Dorsey, Joey........ f 3-6 0-0 1-5 8 7 15 1 7 1 3 2 0 30
01 Kemp, Willie........ g 0-3 0-3 0-0 1 0 1 1 0 1 2 0 0 12
12 Anderson, Antonio... g 0-6 0-3 3-6 6 5 11 2 3 3 4 0 4 36
20 Mack, Doneal........ g 3-8 2-6 7-9 0 0 0 3 15 0 0 1 1 16
00 Wade, Clyde......... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
05 Hunt, Jeremy........ 5-12 1-6 5-7 0 1 1 3 16 2 0 0 4 30
15 Allen, Andre........ 3-10 1-5 1-2 0 4 4 1 8 0 4 0 2 32
42 Cooper, Kareem...... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 9
TEAM................ 4 1 5 1
Totals.............. 17-55 4-23 23-39 21 27 48 14 61 8 17 4 12 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 6-21 28.6% 2nd Half: 11-34 32.4% Game: 30.9% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-12 25.0% 2nd Half: 1-11 9.1% Game: 17.4% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 6-14 42.9% 2nd Half: 17-25 68.0% Game: 59.0% 9

HOME TEAM: East Carolina 5-12,0-4
23 FIELDS, John........ f 5-6 0-0 4-9 2 2 4 3 14 0 3 1 2 31
32 BLAIR, Gabe......... f 1-4 0-0 2-4 1 3 4 5 4 1 3 1 1 22
03 FARMER, Cory........ g 1-6 1-3 0-0 0 5 5 1 3 4 2 0 1 31
05 CAPTAIN, Courtney... g 1-7 1-3 1-2 0 3 3 2 4 0 4 0 1 24
22 JENKINS, Darrell.... g 1-7 0-4 0-0 2 4 6 2 2 4 8 0 0 31
02 DILLARD, James...... 2-4 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 1 4 0 2 1 1 13
12 GAGNON, Taylor...... 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 4 1 0 0 0 4
15 INGRAM, Jeremy...... 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 1 1 0 0 10
25 RAMSEY, Justin...... 2-2 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 3 4 0 0 1 0 9
34 EVANS, Brandon...... 2-8 0-2 1-2 1 3 4 4 5 1 0 0 2 25
TEAM................ 2 1 3 1
Totals.............. 17-47 2-13 8-18 9 24 33 24 44 12 24 4 8 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 8-25 32.0% 2nd Half: 9-22 40.9% Game: 36.2% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 0-6 0.0% 2nd Half: 2-7 28.6% Game: 15.4% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 5-8 62.5% 2nd Half: 3-10 30.0% Game: 44.4% 4
Officials: Steve Pyatt, Duke Edsall, Tim Gattis
Technical fouls: Memphis-None. East Carolina-None.
Attendance: 6064
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
Memphis....................... 21 40 - 61
East Carolina................. 21 23 - 44

Points in the paint-MEM 22,ECU 26. Points off turnovers-MEM 19,ECU 11.
2nd chance points-MEM 12,ECU 13. Fast break points-MEM 0,ECU 2.
Bench points-MEM 24,ECU 17. Score tied-5 times. Lead changed-6 times.
Last FG-MEM 2nd-01:19, ECU 2nd-00:19.
Largest lead-MEM by 21 2nd-01:19, ECU by 4 2nd-17:18.