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Monday, January 14, 2008

Huntington (WV) Herald-Dispatch - Herd falls to No. 2 Memphis

Herd falls to No. 2 Memphis
Jan 13, 2008 @ 12:58 AM
By RICK McCANN, The Herald-Dispatch
HUNTINGTON -- Just too much.

Too much Derrick Rose. Too much Robert Dozier. Too much Joey Dorsey.

Those three Memphis players led the No. 2-ranked Tigers past Marshall, 68-45, in a men's basketball game played Saturday night before a sold-out Cam Henderson Center crowd of 9.043.

The packed in crowd offered strong support and stayed on the referees throughout, but the Tigers were unfazed.

"Our fans were terrific," said Marshall head coach Donnie Jones. "We're proud to have everybody here and I wish we could have had a better showing, but we were worn out at the end."

Rose, Dozier and Dorsey were terrific too.

Memphis, 15-0 overall and 2-0 in Conference USA, was led by Rose, a freshman guard, with 19 points.

People are already talking about Rose going to the NBA after one year of college. Marshall guard Pierre-Marie Altidor Cespedes was asked about how fast Rose is.

"I don't have a fast-meter or calculator, but he's a fast player," Altidor Cespedes said.

Dozier and Dorsey, the 6-foot-9 Memphis forwards, both contributed double-doubles. Dozier had 16 points and 12 rebounds. Dorsey had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The 265-pound Dorsey was 5-for-5 shooting -- all dunks. Memphis had eight dunks total.

Dorsey went for a monster two-handed slam in the second half with such force that the ball came off the rim and bounced clear over the Memphis bench out of bounds.

"Their size really bothered us," Jones said. "We tried going zone (defense) to start off the game. We were hoping it would be a three-point shooting contest. They wore us down. We gave up 40 points in the paint. We had chances to get the ball in the paint and couldn't score."

Memphis head coach John Calipari said it was one of the most physical games the Tigers have played, and the Herd wasn't backing down.

The Tigers had only a seven-point halftime lead and Calipari said he issued a challenge during the break.

"I told them, these first five minutes if you give them hope we're going to get beat," Calipari said.

Dozier scored the first three Memphis baskets of the second half, sending the Tigers toward victory.

The Tigers stretched their 34-27 halftime advantage to 47-30 with 12:26 left to play.

Marshall's record slipped to 9-5 for the season and 1-1 in the conference.

Markel Humphrey and Mark Dorris both scored 12 to lead the Thundering Herd. Dorris did all of his scoring in the first half.

The Herd's 10-for-20 free throw shooting was a problem.

"I think we were concentrating on what Memphis was doing instead of our free throws," Humphrey said.

Marshall guard Darryl Merthie went down with a leg injury late in the game. Jones said it looked as though Merthie had a pretty good sprain.

Dorris left the court twice late because of leg cramps.

Calipari said it was of the most physical games the Tigers have played, and the Herd wasn't backing down.

The rugged play under the basket was a leading experience for 6-6 Marshall freshman Tirrell Baines, who finished with eight points and five rebounds.

Baines had big games earlier against weaker competition.

"He has to understand how to score against size," Jones said. "You have to use skill. That's part of the growing process."

Marshall was held to a season-low point total while shooting only 34 percent for the game.

The Tigers scored 19 points courtesy of the Herd's 19 turnovers.

"Our press got them some, but we get a lot of people," Calipari said. "I was just happy they missed some shots."

Memphis is one of only three unbeaten teams in the nation. No. 1 North Carolina and No. 3 Kansas also won Saturday.

The Herd's record all time against teams in The Associated Press Top 25 is 7-57, including a 2-28 mark against the Top 10.

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