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Friday, March 09, 2007

Memphis 71, Tulane 49 (21 Straight Wins, 31 Straight At Home)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 17 points, and fifth-ranked Memphis extended the nation's longest winning streak to 21 straight Friday by beating Tulane 71-49 in the Conference USA tournament semifinals.

The top-seeded Tigers (29-3) will play either Rice or Houston in the championship Saturday. The regular-season champions will be playing for consecutive tournament titles on a court where they have won 31 consecutive games.

Jeremy Hunt added 10 points off the bench for Memphis, which now has tied BYU for the longest home winning streak.

Donnie Stith led Tulane with 14 points. The Green Wave had 22 turnovers and shot 29.3 percent (17-of-58).

Tulane (17-13) came in having won four straight games and playing in the semifinals for the first time since 2000. But Tulane hasn't beaten the Tigers in Memphis since 1992-93, and Memphis continued its dominance of the series with its 13th straight victory overall.

The Tigers beat Tulane 95-51 on Feb. 10, and this game was close only for the first 10 minutes.

Chris Moore hit a 3-pointer with 10:03 to go that pulled fourth-seeded Tulane within 20-18, then the Green Wave went cold and hit only one shot from the floor the rest of the half. Stith scored in the final seconds after hitting a pair of free throws at 1:37.

It was so bad for Tulane that Asim McQueen 's struggles at the free throw line with 4:49 left in the half summed it up. He bounced his first free throw off the front of the rim, then missed the second off the back.

The Tigers ramped up their defense with eight steals among the turnovers they turned into 21 points, which was reminiscent of their quarterfinal victory when they had outscored Marshall 26-0 off turnovers by halftime.

They finished off the half with a 21-4 run, and Douglas-Roberts scoring 11, including nine of the final 11.

Douglas-Roberts scored nine straight starting with a dunk off a high pass to the basket from Antonio Anderson that had the sophomore reaching way back over his head for the ball before slamming it through. Douglas-Roberts finished off his personal run with a 3 from the top of the key and a 39-20 lead.

Memphis kept pushing the lead in the second half despite missing its first four shots. With the Tigers up 63-34 after Andre Allen 's 3-pointer with more than seven minutes left, the fans who filled half the FedEx Forum started doing the wave to liven up the atmosphere during a timeout.

The large lead allowed Memphis coach John Calipari to rest most of his starters in the second half for the quick turnaround to the title game. Only freshman point guard Willie Kemp was still in with five minutes to go, and he came out a couple minutes later.

By the end, 14 Tigers played and all but two scored.

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