Commentary

Instant Analysis: CDR, Rose lead the Tigers

Originally Published: April 5, 2008
By Tim Griffin | ESPN.com

SAN ANTONIO -- ESPN.com's Tim Griffin provides instant analysis from the first semifinal between UCLA and Memphis.

Final analysis: Memphis 78, UCLA 63


TURNING POINT: After UCLA had pulled within 59-52 on Josh Shipp's three-point play with 7:30 left, Memphis turned on the defense and put the game away with six straight points. The run was punctuated by an athletic block by Joey Dorsey and a hustling save by Derrick Rose that was then turned into a basket by Rose later in the possession. UCLA came no closer than 10 points during the rest of the game.

PLAYER OF THE GAME: Chris Douglas-Roberts. While his teammates kid him that he shoots like an old man, Roberts was dropping them from all over the court Saturday. He finished with a game-high 28 points

PLAYER OF THE GAME II: Nobody fills up a stat sheet like Rose, who finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists. He also helped harass UCLA point guard Darren Collison into a 1-for-9 shooting performance en route to a season-low two points.

STAT OF THE GAME: Memphis' free-throw shooting was maligned coming into the tournament -- probably with good reason considering the Tigers ranked 326th out of 328 Division I-A teams. The Tigers salted away their victory Saturday by sinking 20 of 23 shots from the line for a season-best 87.0 percent. Memphis sank 10 of its first 11 foul shots and has hit 84.7 percent from the line in its last two tournament games.

STAT OF THE GAME II: Memphis' athleticism and speed advantage was highlighted by the Tigers' 14-2 edge in fast-break points.

WHAT IT MEANS: Memphis advances to the national championship game for the first time since 1973 in its bid for its first national title. UCLA loses in the national semifinals for the second straight season.

OLD AND NEW: The biggest roar of the second half came late when the picture of former Memphis standout Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway was flashed on the Alamodome's JumboTron. No sightings however of "Little Penny," his former sidekick from those old-school television commercials.

ONE OF THOSE DAYS: Memphis' good fortune was typified when Antonio Anderson banked in a 3-pointer for the Tigers' final points of the night with 18.8 seconds.

STREAKS AND SUCH: Memphis' victory pushed their record in NCAA tournament games in Texas to 14-2. One of the two losses came at the Alamodome last March 24 when Ohio State knocked them out of the tournament with a 92-76 victory.

Memphis' victory also snapped the Tigers' two-game losing streak to UCLA in NCAA tournament games, dating back to the 1973 championship game loss and a loss in the 2007 West Region finals.

WHO NEEDS SCORING?: Dorsey was a monster in the paint, even though he didn't score any points. But he added 15 rebounds, two blocked shots.


First-half analysis: Memphis 38, UCLA 35


TURNING POINT: After spotting UCLA an early 5-0 lead, Chris Douglas-Roberts scored two quick baskets in a 22-second span to pull Memphis back into the game after some uncharacteristic struggles. Douglas-Roberts later scored four points during an 11-2 surge capped by a Antonio Anderson dunk that pushed them to a 17-12 lead with 14:22 left. UCLA never led again during the rest of the first half.

ANSWERING BACK: UCLA center Kevin Love made a play that won't show up in the box score when he jumped high to break up a high lob on Memphis' next-to-last offensive possession. The Bruins turned the play into a layup by Darren Collison with 5 seconds left, pulling within three at the break.

PLAYER OF THE HALF: Douglas-Roberts. Combining his outside touch with the artistry of a trick shooter, Roberts finished with 13 points in the first half to lead all scorers.

PLAYER OF THE HALF II: Love. So much for freshman jitters. Love scored 10 points and a team-high six rebounds to keep the Bruins in the game.

PLAY OF THE HALF: For a sheer "take that" momentum surge, Anderson's tomahawk jam off a fast-break pass from Joey Dorsey pushed Memphis to a 17-12 edge with 14:23 left. It will be destined for posterity in "One Shining Moment" Monday night -- regardless of whether Memphis is playing or not.

PLAY OF THE HALF II: Nothing like having an athletic 6-foot-10 center waiting in the post. Douglas-Roberts made a nice cut to streak by Josh Shipp, but Love was waiting to block his shot.

STAT OF THE HALF: After missing its first three field-goal attempts, Memphis hit its next eight shots from the field. The Tigers then finished by hitting eight of its next 29 shots.

STAT OF THE HALF II: Memphis didn't commit its first turnover until a bad pass by Robert Dozier with 7:23 left in the half.

STAT OF THE HALF III: Memphis had a 10-0 edge in fast-break points.

SLUMP BUSTER: UCLA guard Josh Shipp has been mired in a miserable shooting slump earlier in the tournament, hitting only 14.7 percent of his 3-point shots. Shipp rebounded to drill two of his first three 3-point attempts to provide the Bruins with much of their early scoring.

CHA-CHING: Who says the NCAA isn't about trying to cram as many people as possible into a stadium? A large curtain is draped to separate the court on the north side of the Alamodome from the rest of the building. But seats have been sold all the way to the back of the building, giving them a look at the replay monitor over the other side.

NICE TOUCH: To cover the signs for car companies, soft drinks and beer companies that usually hang along the facade of the Alamodome, the NCAA has hung banners that list every 2008 NCAA Division I participants in alphabetical order.

Tim Griffin is a college football and basketball writer for ESPN.com. He can be reached at espntimgriff@yahoo.com.