Top-ranked Tigers maintain perfection ... barely

Updated: February 17, 2008

AP Photo/Hal Yeager

Memphis barely maintained its perfect record in a tough win at UAB.

Key Shot

With a perfect season, a ridiculous in-conference winning streak and maybe a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament hanging in the balance, John Calipari experienced a strange reaction on the sidelines at Birmingham's Bartow Arena Saturday night.

As UAB refused to back down to Memphis' superior talent, panic surely was the mood of the day across the Tennessee border, where citizens have been waiting for their huge "Rocky Top Showdown" on Feb. 23 between the Tigers and the Volunteers.

Calipari was merely curious.

"There were maybe seven or eight minutes left and I thought, 'This is good. We need this,'" said Calipari by phone late Saturday night. "I needed to find out who I can put in games like this, who's going to make plays, who's going to go south, who's going to have the mind-set to miss a shot and keep going."

The obvious answers came in the forms of Chris Douglas-Roberts and Antonio Anderson. The pair practically played 2-on-5 against UAB, combining for 59 points and 22 made field goals, leaving the rest of the team to the mop-up duty of 20 points and six made shots in top-ranked Memphis' stunning 79-78 win.

The win, secured when Douglas-Roberts sunk a jumper, while being fouled on a spin move and then made the ensuing free throw with seven seconds to play, certainly seems to cement Memphis' appointment with destiny. The Tigers had no real business winning. They trailed by seven with 1:43 to play and missed nine consecutive field goals up to that point. Yet they are now 25-0 and have not lost a Conference USA game in 716 days.

John Calipari

Joe Murphy/Getty Images

Saturday's near loss to UAB was a good learning experience for coach John Calipari.

But as March creeps closer, the more pertinent issue isn't who is rescuing Memphis but who Calipari believes is not on board. Once energized by his move out of the starting rotation, Joey Dorsey now seems lost. He had just one point and two rebounds against UAB, this coming after a game after a six-point effort against Houston.

Calipari said he's through offering pep talks to his enigmatic senior and will continue to skip over him on the bench until he believes Dorsey is ready to play.

That isn't the kind of stuff Memphis fans will want to hear, as "The Game" looms. Conventional wisdom holds that the Tigers have really one more major hurdle -- their date with Tennessee -- before completing the perfect regular season.

Calipari said he hasn't watched the Vols except for the few minutes he's caught on television, and he won't scout them until after Memphis' game at Tulane on Wednesday. For a man not paying strict attention, he sure knows a lot.

"They are the most talented team to ever come into our building," Calipari said. "Watching some of what I watched, I'm surprised they weren't No. 1 in the country at some point. That's how good they are."

S-T-R-A-N-G-E

ALBANY, N.Y. -- On a super strange Saturday in the city where the Super Bowl champion Giants train, a man named Manning came off the bench cold with eight seconds remaining, to hit a game-tying, overtime-forcing 3.

Loyola guard Greg Manning (no relation to you know who) ended up with a truly infinite box score line (5 points in 0+ minutes), when his Greyhounds rolled over the stunned Siena Saints 83-67 in overtime on the road in a key Metro Atlantic Conference battle.

But it was a controversial officiating decision directly preceding Manning's heroics -- a mad scramble on the floor with 16 seconds remaining in which Loyola was granted possession and a timeout, which set the scene for a bizarre postgame show.

Before the postgame press conference, Margaret McCaffrey, the wife of Siena head coach Fran, burst into the media room and addressed reporters.

"Do you want a headline?" she shouted. "We got hosed. H-O-S-E-D. Hosed."

Once McCaffrey arrived and stated he'd have no comments about the officiating, his wife interrupted a reporter's question.

"That's enough, Margaret," McCaffrey said. She left the room and the press conference continued.

So, too, continues one of the most fiercely fought MAAC regular-season races in recent memory, with four teams within a single game of No. 1 position. Siena and Rider sit atop the league with 11-4 records, and Niagara and Loyola are one game behind at 10-5. Keep an eye on this conference. The team that survives in this one-bid league will be battle-tested for its first-round NCAA matchup next month.

Key Notes

Memphis beat UAB 79-78 on Saturday. It was the fifth time this season that the No. 1 team in the country played a game decided by one possession.

• Niagara's Charron Fisher scored 41 points in the Purple Eagles' 81-75 win over Iona. Fisher scored 45 points in his previous game, a 92-87 win at Loyola (Md.). He is the first Division I player with back-to-back 40-point games since Gonzaga's Adam Morrison scored 41 at San Francisco and 42 against Portland in consecutive games in January 2006.

• Kansas State's Michael Beasley scored 40 points and hauled in 17 rebounds in the Wildcats' 100-63 win over Missouri. It is his second 40-point, 10-rebound effort of the season. Only one other freshman in the last 10 seasons has had a 40-10 game and that was North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough, who had 40 points and 10 rebounds in a home win against Georgia Tech during the 2005-06 season.

• Aside from Beasley, the only player in Division I on Saturday to have at least 30 points and 10 rebounds was Morgan State's Jamar Smith, who had a career-high 34 points and tied a career high with 12 rebounds. Smith has recorded 12 rebounds three times in his career and the Golden Bears have lost all three contests -- including Saturday's 90-89 overtime loss at Florida A&M.

Lester Hudson of Tennessee-Martin was at it again. The Skyhawks beat Southeast Missouri State 98-85, but Hudson recorded the only triple-double -- 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists -- in Division-I on Saturday. It is his second triple-double of the season (and his first was a quadruple-double). He's the third player in Division I to have multiple triple-doubles this season. The other two players are Louisville's Terrence Williams and Tony Lee of Robert Morris (who has recorded his in his last two games).

• Speaking of Terrence Williams, he recorded his 1,000th career point in Louisville's 80-72 win at Providence. He is the 59th player in Louisville history to reach that mark. No other school has as many 1,000-point scorers in its history. The Cardinals entered the day tied with North Carolina with 58 1,000-point scorers each.

J.J. Hickson

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

NC State freshman J.J. Hickson grabbed the most rebounds in an ACC game in nearly three years.

• North Carolina State freshman J.J. Hickson grabbed 23 rebounds in the Wolfpack's 71-64 loss to Clemson. His 23 boards are the most ever by an ACC freshman. No ACC player has hauled in that many rebounds since North Carolina's Sean May had 24 in a home win over Duke on March 6, 2005.

• Arizona's Jerryd Bayless scored 31 points in Arizona's 67-66 home loss to Stanford. Bayless has scored 103 points in his last three games combined. The last Arizona player to score a combined 100 points in three consecutive games was Damon Stoudamire in the 1994-95 season.

• Connecticut's Hasheem Thabeet blocked eight shots and grabbed nine rebounds in the Huskies' 74-73 overtime win at South Florida. Underscoring how important his defense and rebounding has been, the Huskies got the victory despite the fact that Thabeet scored just six points.

• There were 33 games decided by one possession on Saturday, and the home teams were 16-17 in those contests.

• Ten ranked teams were on the road against unranked teams on Saturday and nine of them came out victorious. The only ranked team to lose at an unranked opponent was Georgetown, which lost at Syracuse 77-70. It should not come as a surprise, however, as the Orange and the Hoyas have tangled in the state of New York six times in the last five seasons -- and the Orange have won all six meetings. Those games include four contests at the Carrier Dome and two meetings in the Big East tournament at Madison Square Garden.


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On Tap For Sunday

• Miami (Fla.) at Georgia Tech, 1 ET (Full Court)
• Seton Hall at West Virginia, 2 ET (Full Court)
• Saint Louis at UMass, 2 ET
• Duke at Wake Forest, 7:30 ET
• UCLA at USC, 10 ET

For the full schedule, click here. All games on ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Full Court are also on ESPN360.com.

Top 25 Scores From Saturday

• No. 1 Memphis 79, UAB 78
• No. 3 Kansas 69, Colorado 45
• No. 4 Tennessee 74, Georgia 71
• No. 5 North Carolina 92, Virginia Tech 53
• No. 7 Stanford 67, Arizona 66
• Syracuse 77, No. 8 Georgetown 70
• No. 12 Indiana 80, No. 9 Michigan State 61
• No. 10 Butler 51, Cleveland State 46
• No. 11 Texas 82, Baylor 77
• No. 14 Wisconsin 65, Minnesota 56
• No. 15 Drake 65, Northern Iowa 55
• Oklahoma State 59, No. 16 Texas A&M 54
• No. 17 Connecticut 74, South Florida 73
• No. 19 Vanderbilt 61, Florida 58
• No. 20 Washington State 62, Oregon 53
• No. 21 Saint Mary's 80, Loyola Marymount 49
• No. 22 Kansas State 100, Missouri 63
• No. 23 Purdue 71, Northwestern 56

For all scores, click here.

Indiana rolls over Michigan State

Indiana Beats Michigan State

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Maybe Kelvin Sampson is in denial. Maybe he truly believes he'll be coaching Indiana for the rest of the season.

That may be the only way to explain the bizarre nature of what is happening here.

Indiana rocked Michigan State 80-61 Saturday night at Assembly Hall despite losing potential Big Ten player of the year D.J. White with a left knee injury after only 15 minutes of game action.

"I think basketball is so much bigger than one person," said Sampson of his own tenuous situation. "The game will always be about the players. I am happy for them. That was a tough loss the other night [to Wisconsin on a Brian Butch 3-pointer on the Badgers' final possession]. I mean it was. But to come back tonight, it is just a great win for those kids. You just can't go anywhere and people not see the situation."

For all of Andy Katz's column, click here.

Stanford holds off Arizona in Pac-10 play

Expert's Take

By Doug Gottlieb
ESPN

Cal finally defended with consistency to get a 76-73 win at Arizona State. Cal's Ryan Anderson was spectacular as always, with 28 points and 11 rebounds to continue on his unreal sophomore run. Patrick Christopher had a sick dunk in the second half on ASU freshman Ty Abbott, which energized the Bears in the second half.

Drake used a huge 13-2 run to beat Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls to win its first conference title since 1971. Drake uses the entire half court to spread the floor for Adam Emmenecker to penetrate and create as the shot clock wears down. The Bulldogs do run some flex, a la Keno Davis' mentor/father Dr. Tom, but they also use some simple motion with double screens on the weak side to keep the spacing on the floor.

• How much is home-court advantage worth? UNLV beat BYU 70-41 in Las Vegas on Jan. 15. On Saturday, BYU beat UNLV 74-48 in Provo. Can you imagine a bigger differential? UNLV's Wink Adams was once again shut down by BYU's guards and UNLV struggled all night with BYU's Trent Plaisted inside. The lefty had 22 points and used his quick jump hook and face-up game to destroy the Rebels.

• Why is Oklahoma State playing so much better? Former McDonald's All-American Byron Eaton has been playing very well. With OSU's 59-54 win at Texas A&M, coach Sean Sutton got his first road win in 20 games and Eaton completely controlled the pace and tempo for the second straight game. The junior had 17 points and five assists mostly off ball screens that Texas A&M defended very poorly.

Syracuse knocks off rival Georgetown

Texas Holds Off Baylor Rally

By Tim Griffin
ESPN.com

WACO, Texas -- The most excruciating look near the Texas bench didn't belong to Rick Barnes or any of his Longhorns players.

As Texas nearly frittered away a 14-point lead in the final three minutes of its game Saturday night against Baylor, the gangly teenager in the Pittsburgh Pirates hat behind the bench took its late-game collapse the hardest.

That tall, skinny fan was Kevin Durant, only a year removed from earning national player of the year honors with the Longhorns. So it was understandable that Durant was showing more emotion as a spectator than during most games with the Seattle SuperSonics this season.

"That one was a hard one to watch," said Durant, who arrived shortly before tip-off and planned to make the 80-mile bus trip back to Austin with his former teammates after the game. "But I was proud that the guys hung on and won. It was good to see them do well."

For Tim Griffin's Instant Analysis of the Texas-Baylor game, click here. For Griffin's full column on the game, click here.

Tennessee survives Georgia scare

IBM Greatest Player: No. 16 Patrick Ewing