February 11, 2007
AS THE GAME TURNED
This one wasn't much of a contest at any point. The Tigers broke it open in the first four minutes when freshman guard Willie Kemp made a 3-pointer in transition for a 10-3 lead. Then after forward Joey Dorsey stole the ball off Memphis' full-court press, Kemp fed freshman Doneal Mack for a 3-pointer in the corner that swished for a 13-3 lead. Another 3 by Kemp a minute later gave Memphis a 16-5 lead just 3:54 into the contest.
AS THE ROTATION TURNED
As deep as Memphis is, the Tigers rarely have their entire second team on the floor in the first half of any game. But it happened Saturday. Memphis' usual second five of Andre Allen, Jeremy Hunt, Mack, Kareem Cooper and Tre'Von Willis was in the game with 12:15 left in the first half. Memphis was up 20-12 at the time. A hook shot by Cooper and six straight points by Hunt extended the lead to 28-15 before coach John Calipari began rotating his starters back in.
Mack's 41-inch vertical leap was in full view with 9:20 left in the first half when he and fellow freshman Willis connected on a picture-perfect alley-oop. It was so pretty, in fact, Tulane players simply watched as Mack began a baseline cut toward the basket. Willis, holding the ball just right of the key, lobbed it up high, and Mack elevated to grab the ball and slam it with two hands. The play gave Memphis a 33-15 lead.
HIDE YOUR EYES
When Tulane misses, Tulane misses badly. The Green Wave had four airballs in the first half, and that's not even counting a jumper that was partially blocked by freshman Pierre Niles. Chris Moore took the first three shots for Tulane. The first bounced off the backboard more than a foot right of the rim. He was fouled on the second (he made two free throws) and then sailed a baseline jumper well over the rim. The Green Wave made just 8-of-21 field goals in the first 20 minutes.
Balanced scoring has been the Tigers' trademark, but it's hard to be more balanced than they were Saturday. Five players scored in double figures, all between 11 and 13 points. Kemp and Robert Dozier were the high scorers, while Willis and Chris Douglas-Roberts had 12. Senior guard Jeremy Hunt, after a career-high 30 points against UAB, had 11.
"For some reason, this is the team that doesn't match well with us. Last year, we got them pretty good both times, and I don't know why. It's just, you know, we don't match well with Southern Miss. When we play them, it's always a war ... there's something there. I don't know what it is." -- Calipari on Tulane
Tigers at Tulsa, Wednesday, 7 p.m.
-- Dan Wolken