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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Fox Sports Jeff Goodman - Rose plays scared but wins duel with Mayo

Rose plays scared but wins duel with Mayo

NEW YORK - The last time Derrick Rose and O.J. Mayo went up against one another, the duo put on a dramatic show in Las Vegas. It was a back-and-forth affair which Mayo won with his memorable four-point play.

This time around, Rose looked scared, timid, nervous, confused or whatever other adjective you want to plug in when a deer is confronted with headlights. The nerves couldn't be traced to Madison Square Garden, since Rose had played well in New York City a couple weeks ago in wins over Oklahoma and UConn.
"He stopped playing and was real passive," Rose's older brother, Reggie, said after the game. "He was trying not to lose."

Mayo had plenty of moments when he, too, was just a regular freshman. He struggled offensively, missing 14 of his 20 shots from the field and seven consecutive down the stretch.

All in all, it was a forgettable evening for both frosh.

Rose, Memphis' highly-touted point guard, got his first taste of the triangle-and-two defense on Tuesday night and it was a disaster: the potent Tigers scored just 62 points in 45 minutes of play.

This was a team that entered the game averaging 85.7 points per game.

"He (Derrick) was looking at me and was confused," Memphis coach John Calipari said after the second-ranked Tigers outlasted USC, 62-58, in overtime. "It's his seventh college game."

Rose said he was just trying to get his teammates involved against the defense that was designed to make life difficult for Rose and teammate Chris Douglas-Roberts.

His brother, Reggie, disagreed.

"You gotta take that shot at the end, boy," Reggie Rose yelled after watching his younger brother defer and pass the ball to Robert Dozier at the end of regulation. "I'm gonna have a talk with him when we get back to Memphis tonight."

That's the difference between Rose and Mayo.

Mayo wouldn't have passed the ball with the game on the line. For good or for bad, USC's star-studded frosh would have kept the ball in his hands and squarely placed the outcome of the game on himself.

Rose is too unselfish. It's been said before and it'll be said again.

Calipari takes the blame for not having his players prepared for the defense that USC coach Tim Floyd decided to put in about two hours prior to tip-off in the hotel ballroom. Calipari said he knew the defense was coming, but the players weren't ready to play against it.

"I got thoroughly out-coached today," he said. "I can't believe we won. We deserved to lose."

The Tigers got past No. 24 USC despite virtually nothing from Joey Dorsey, Douglas-Roberts, Antonio Anderson and Rose.

Rose had Mayo in his face for much of the night and then there was always another player right there in case he got past Mayo. But that rarely happened.




Rose rarely pushed the issue and instead elected to make the safe pass.

"It's very difficult to be aggressive against that defense," Douglas-Roberts said.

That's the difference between Mayo and Rose. Mayo has no problem being the aggressor no matter what the opposition throws his way.

Mayo had his moments against the Tigers, but they came primarily on the defensive end where he was terrific in helping to shut down Rose. After knocking down his first two shots early in the game, Mayo proceeded to make just four of his next 18 and finish with 16 points, four rebounds, three assists and a pair of turnovers.

Then after the game he gave props to his rival freshman.

"He was terrific," Mayo said of Rose. "He took care of the ball. I thought he played well."

Are you kidding? Rose finished with nine points, 10 rebounds and four assists.

But this time, he got the win.

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