Once the Memphis Tigers got going, they did what a No. 1 seed is supposed to do - win in the first round.
Conference USA player of the year Rodney Carney had 19 points and Andre Allen matched his season high with 11 - all in a late first-half spurt that put Memphis ahead to stay - and the Tigers beat Oral Roberts 94-78 Friday.
Even though Memphis (31-3) entered the NCAA tournament as the only team other than Duke with 30 wins, some thought the Tigers might be the first No. 1 seed to lose to a No. 16 seed.
The young Tigers - Carney is the only regular player who isn't a freshman or sophomore - played in Conference USA, which sent only one other team to the NCAA tournament. Plus, Oral Roberts (21-12) featured two-time Mid Continent player of the year Caleb Green in a lineup filled with upper classmen.
Then, the Tigers were down 33-29 late in the first half and really did seem vulnerable.
But with their 3-point shooting and balanced scoring - five players in double figures - the Tigers had plenty to withstand Oral Roberts in their first game as a top seed. Memphis tied a school record for wins, matching the 1984-85 team that went to the Final Four.
The Tigers play Bucknell in the second round of the Oakland Regional on Sunday. The Bison beat Arkansas 59-55 earlier Friday.
Darius Washington and Shawne Williams had 14 points each for Memphis, and Antonio Anderson had 10. The Tigers shot 60 percent from the field (37 of 61) and matched a season high with 11 3-pointers, the last Carney's with 9:22 left that made it 78-63.
Green led five Oral Roberts players in double figures with 19 points. Larry Owens had 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Oral Roberts jumped out to a 33-29 lead when Owens tipped in Ken Tutt's ally-oop pass with 5:37 left. But the Golden Eagles missed their next five shots. Their worst shooting drought of the game came at the same time Allen sparked a 20-2 Memphis spurt.
After Carney made a free throw, Allen's layup put the Tigers ahead 34-33. Green then made two free throws with 4:36 left to put Oral Roberts in front for the last time.
Allen hit a 3-pointer from the left side, and after a miss by the Golden Eagles, hit a long-range shot from the right side. By time Allen made another 3 with 2:58 left, the Tigers led 44-35.
Chris Douglas-Roberts nifty underhand shot with 1:16 left pushed Memphis ahead 49-35 before Mickey Michalec finally made another field goal for the Golden Eagles, a short jumper.
Green made a tough shot to start the second half and got Oral Roberts within 51-41.
The Golden Eagles missed only one of their first eight shots after halftime, yet couldn't gain any more ground. They were still down 65-55 when Owens was called for goaltending to wipe out an apparent tip-in.
Tutt and Jonathan Bluitt had 11 points each and Chris Riouse 10 for Oral Roberts, which shot 53 percent (28-of-53), even after missing six of its last nine shots.
No. 4 MEMPHIS 94, ORAL ROBERTS 78
ORAL ROBERTS (21-12)
Tutt 4-11 1-2 11, Owens 5-7 3-5 13, Green 6-14 7-7 19, Michalec 3-6 1-2 7, Bluitt 3-4 2-2 11, Riouse 4-6 0-0 10, Ogunoye 0-0 0-0 0, Vealy 2-3 1-2 5, Fowlkes 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 28-53 15-20 78.
S.Williams 6-9 0-0 14, Carney 7-14 2-5 19, Dorsey 2-6 1-2 5, Anderson 4-4 0-0 10, Washington Jr. 5-7 3-4 14, W.Williams 0-0 0-0 0, Dozier 4-7 1-2 9, Douglas-Roberts 2-2 2-2 6, Allen 4-6 0-1 11, Cooper 3-6 0-0 6. Totals 37-61 9-16 94.