March 2, 2007
AS THE GAME TURNED
With 7:41 to go, a putback by Jeremy Sampson drew the Miners within 59-58, and when they got the ball back moments later, it was obvious that the moment was theirs to seize. But Maurice Thomas missed a 3-foot jumper, and with 6:56 left, Tigers senior Jeremy Hunt buried a 3-pointer. Then, sophomore Chris Douglas-Roberts took over, getting two points on a goaltending call with 6:06 to go, then driving for a baseline runner on the next possession and drawing a foul. His free throw put Memphis ahead 68-58.
AS THE ROTATION TURNED
John Calipari made a very timely substitution with 11.5 seconds left in the first half. After UTEP's Stefon Jackson committed an offensive foul, giving the ball to Memphis, Calipari brought freshman guard Doneal Mack off the bench to replace forward Robert Dozier. The idea was to have another 3-point shooter on the floor if the Tigers got a good look. Instead, it was Antonio Anderson taking a 3-pointer from the corner. He missed, but Mack went after the ball harder than anyone and used his 41-inch vertical leap for a putback dunk that gave the Tigers a 40-36 lead.
Joey Dorsey's impact was diminished due to foul trouble, but a sequence with 8:15 to go in the first half highlighted how much he was able to dominate UTEP's post players when he wanted to. After Willie Kemp missed a 3-pointer, Dorsey rose above the crowd to tip the ball back toward the 3-point line, where Mack picked it up and fired. Again, Dorsey timed his jump just right, tip-dunking Mack's missed 3-pointer off as it bounced high off the rim.
HIDE YOUR EYES
Thursday was a nightmare offensively for Dozier, who had trouble every time he got close to the rim. The 6-9 sophomore had trouble finishing in traffic, going 1-for-6 from the field, mostly on missed layups. He also got stuffed by the rim on a dunk. Dozier did make an impact defensively, blocking five shots and grabbing seven rebounds.
Memphis made as many 3-pointers as free throws. The Tigers went 11-for-28 from the 3-point line. Memphis went 11-for-25 from the free-throw line to ring out at 44 percent.
"It felt like a tournament game. It reminded me of practice really because it was just like playing against each other. They ran the same plays and played us physical, just like we do, and we expected that. But we didn't expect the type of environment, and we didn't know they were going to come out and play as hard and as good as they did." -- Douglas-Roberts
ODDS AND ENDS
Calipari coached his 500th college game Thursday. With the win, he improved his career record to 367-133.
Memphis became the first team in the country this season to reach 18 straight wins. Clemson, Florida and Wisconsin all won 17 straight games but lost going for No. 18.
Tigers at SMU, Saturday, 8:30 p.m.
-- Dan Wolken