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Monday, January 29, 2007

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.

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