Tigers Wrapup Conference USA Regular Season Title at SMU - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Jarvis Greer

Tigers Wrapup Conference USA Regular Season Title at SMU

DALLAS (AP) - Robert Dozier got angry, dunking over a 7-footer

who had just blocked a teammate's shot. Then it was Joey Dorsey's

turn, blocking a shot to start a fast break, then capping another

break with a dunk of an alley-oop pass off the backboard.

The bad news for No. 2 Memphis? That inside power show came in

the final minutes of what already was headed to being a lopsided

win over SMU.

So when coach John Calipari spoke to the Tigers following the

72-55 victory Wednesday night, he congratulated them on the

school's first perfect road record since 1960-61, then made it

clear he will need more out of his big men once the NCAA tournament

starts.

"If we're going to be the team everyone thinks we are, we're

going to have to get those guys playing better," Calipari said.

"The M.O. on us is, `Punch them in the mouth, shove them in the

back, and shove and grab and bump, and guys are going to go at you

and they won't go back.' At the end of the day, every guy on our

team, if we're going to do something special weekend to weekend,

they're going to have to play at a high level."

Memphis (29-1, 15-0) extended its road winning streak to 18

games and won its 38th straight Conference USA game. It was

Calipari's 100th Conference USA win in his eight seasons.

Derrick Rose led the Tigers with 19 points and Chris

Douglas-Roberts added 18. What bothered Calipari is that their

teammates combined for only 12 more baskets. Just four came from

their trio of big men, Dorsey, Dozier and Shawn Taggart - and two

of those were during the showboating stretch once the game was out

of reach for SMU (9-19, 3-12).

"I'm not throwing (the big men) under the bus," Calipari said.

"I'm telling you, they're good enough to be as good as anybody in

the country. We're not getting it right now from them. So what's

happening is we're relying on Derrick and we're relying on CDR. But

at some point, you've got to have a frontline guy get 18 and 17 and

12 rebounds, or you're not winning."

Dorsey, who came off the bench because of a virus that left him

on an IV, had six points and eight rebounds in 24 minutes. Dozier

had three points and three rebounds in 12 minutes and Taggart had

one point and three rebounds in 17 minutes.

"We've got to be a force defensively," said Dozier, who had

only two points the previous game. "We don't get offensive

rebounds like we did at the beginning of the year. Guys are kind of

settling for block outs and running back."

When these teams met last month in Memphis, Dozier was

suspended, Dorsey was forced to come off the bench as punishment

for poor play and Douglas-Roberts scored only four points in 13

minutes because of the flu. Yet the Tigers still led by as many as

40 points on their way to a 77-48 victory.

They must have been thinking more about that rout than about

their 64-61 squeaker over SMU in Dallas last season because they

opened this game in a funk, making only five of their first 15

shots. Still, all the Mustangs could do was come close, getting

within 24-21 before Memphis started to pull away.

Douglas-Roberts scored just before halftime, then made a layup

in the opening seconds of the second half. That put the Tigers up

40-26 and they remained ahead by at least 10 points.

Anderson and Doneal Mack both scored nine points, with Mack's

coming on a run of three straight 3s during a spurt that took

Memphis from trailing 9-7 to leading 16-9.

Mack's roll was about the only time the Mustangs had to focus on

anyone other than Rose or Douglas-Roberts. So after the game,

Calipari asked players if they played as well as they can.

"Three guys said no," he said. "We can't have that."

Jon Killen led SMU with 16 points and Bamba Fall had 11, eight

rebounds and four blocks.

Playing before their biggest home crowd since November 2001, and

wearing uniforms from their only Final Four team - the 1956 squad

that lost to Bill Russell and eventual national champion San

Francisco in the semifinals - coach Matt Doherty's Mustangs made

mistakes when they had chances to cut into the lead.

In the second half alone, they failed to inbound the ball in the

allotted 5 seconds, got a shot clock violation after a potentially

momentum-building defensive play and missed the front end of a

1-and-1 when both free throws would have pulled them within nine

points with about 7 minutes left.

"You don't want to get embarrassed and beat by 30 points,"

Doherty said. "Hopefully we've converted some of those fans."

Memphis won its third straight since losing its perfect season

and No. 1 ranking to Tennessee.

The Tigers, who clinched a third straight conference title in

their previous game, play their regular-season finale at home

Saturday against UAB.

 

 

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