Tulsa 67

(10-15, 5-7 C-USA)

(4) Memphis 78

(26-2, 12-0 C-USA)

    8:00 PM ET, February 25, 2006

    FedExForum, Memphis, Tennessee

    1 2 T
    TLSA 37 3067
    #4MEM 42 3678

    Top Performers

    Tulsa: B. McDade 14 Pts, 5 Reb, 5 Ast, 4 Stl

    Memphis: S. Williams 21 Pts, 8 Reb, 1 Ast, 2 Stl, 2 Blk

    Williams clutch down the stretch in No. 3 Memphis' win

    MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)-- When Memphis couldn't shake a stubborn Tulsa team, the Tigers decided to start running the offense through Shawne Williams.

    The freshman forward scored 21 points, including nine during the game-deciding run over the final six minutes, to lead Memphis (No. 3 ESPN/USA Today; No. 4 AP) to a 78-67 victory on Saturday.

    Williams said Memphis coach John Calipari has made it clear that the coach is going to lean on him and guard Darius Washington if the Tigers are in trouble.

    "Like [Calipari] told the whole team, at the end of every game, if there's a clutch basket that needs to be made, he was going to give it to Darius or me," Williams said. "He made that understood a month, two months ago. He saw that the man couldn't stop me on the block."

    Tulsa stayed close until Williams began scoring inside as Memphis (26-2, 12-0 Conference USA) outscored the Golden Hurricane 18-5 down the stretch to win its 15th game in a row and earn at least a share of the conference title.

    The Tigers finally put Tulsa away with an 11-0 run, capped by a dunk from Rodney Carney, to give them some breathing room at 71-62 with 2 minutes left.

    Carney finished with 20 points, while Washington scored 13 points for Memphis.

    "Are they better than us? No," Calipari said. "[But] they were today. They wanted the game more than us today. They executed better than us today. They scrapped more than us today."

    Brett McDade led Tulsa (10-15, 5-7) with 14 points, five assists and five rebounds, while Darold Crow scored 11 points. Ray Reese finished with 10 points.

    The Golden Hurricane clogged the middle, cutting off penetration and forcing Memphis to shoot outside, and the plan almost worked.

    Tulsa, which lost 84-61 to Memphis at home earlier in the month, held a 62-60 lead when Reese connected on a pair of free throws with just under 6 minutes remaining.

    At that point, the Memphis crowd sensed that things were getting a bit desperate. The Tigers had coasted through many of their conference wins, especially at home. The partisan crowd rose to their feet on every possession as the Memphis offense, which had struggled throughout, finally got going.

    But it took a change in philosophy. Memphis began posting up Williams, who responded with a pair of inside baskets and a foul shot to start Memphis' final spurt.

    "I don't think we've been in a situation like that since Gonzaga," Chris Douglas-Roberts said, referring to the Tigers' Dec. 27 win. "[Calipari] told us to just throw it in the post and get to the free throw line and slow the game down. Even though we don't like slowing the game down, we had to to be effective."

    Tulsa stayed close through the first half by protecting the basketball and shooting 48 percent. The Golden Hurricane committed 24 turnovers in their first loss to Memphis, but made only seven in the first half on Saturday. They finished with 11.

    There were seven ties and 16 lead changes in the first half, and a 3-pointer by Carney with 2 seconds left gave Memphis a 42-37 lead at the break.

    "I thought Rodney Carney stepped up really big when he had to," Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said. "The 3 he hit towards the end of the first half, and the 3 when it was a two-point game late in the second half, hurt us."

    The Tigers may have built a lead earlier if not for a poor performance from the foul line where they hit 26 of 41 shots. But much like the offense got untracked at the end, the Tigers did better from the line, hitting their final 11.

    "For a while there in the second half, we played not to lose instead of playing to win," Calipari said. "We had a chance to lose the game, but we won it, and we will move on."

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 67 78
    FG Made-Attempted 22-62 (.355) 23-54 (.426)
    3P Made-Attempted 5-17 (.294) 6-22 (.273)
    FT Made-Attempted 18-22 (.818) 26-41 (.634)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 27 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 2 13

    2005-06 Season

    Feb 1, 2006 MEM 84, @TLSA 61Recap
    » Feb 25, 2006 @MEM 78, TLSA 67Recap