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Kemp, Hunt lead long-range attack for Memphis

Feb 23, 2007 - 3:39 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Memphis clinched the Conference USA title in impressive fashion.

Jeremy Hunt, Antonio Anderson and freshman Willie Kemp led a lethal outside shooting attack with a combined 13 3-pointers and the seventh-ranked Tigers played suffocating defense in a 99-63 rout over Rice in a league contest.

Chris-Douglas Roberts added 14 points for Memphis (24-3, 13-0 C-USA), which extended the nation's longest winning streak to 16 games while winning its 28th straight at home.

"We shot the ball well," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "They were open threes, though. I think there are going to be games where people are going to have to make a choice. Let's hope they're not making them. I didn't think there were many contested threes. I think they were planning on us to drive. They were playing us back in. They were playing us back in the paint."

The Tigers scored the first nine points - five from Douglas - of the contest and closed the half on a 17-7 run to open a 52-34 edge at the break. Anderson, Hunt and Kemp hit shots from the arc during the half-ending blitz.

Memphis shot 57 percent (20-of-35) in the opening half and got four 3-pointers from Hunt and three more from Anderson. The Tigers limited the Owls to 39 percent (11-of-28) and harassed them into 13 turnovers, which Memphis turned into 17 points.

"When we went to the zone, we felt like there were a couple of guys we needed to get to, and we just didn't get to them," Rice coach Willis Wilson said. "They knocked some shots down and took the wind out of our sails. We tried to make a run, and the truth of the matter is their pressure got to us a couple of times.

"We just put ourselves in situations that are hard to defend by turning the ball over out on the wing and the perimeter. It's hard to defend 2-on-1, 3-on-2 and 3-on-1 situations."

Memphis used a 23-4 run to push the edge to 90-55 with 4:40 left.

Kemp had three 3-pointers and 13 of his 20 points - one shy of his season high - after intermission. He shot 8-of-10 from the floor, including 4-of-6 from the arc.

"I love what Willie did," Calipari said. "I was all over Willie because he was trying to make hard plays again. The second half was easy. If he was open, he shot it. If he wasn't, he passed it. How he played was as well as he's played for us."

Hunt finished 5-of-13 from the arc and scored 16 points to reach 1,000 for his career.

Memphis hit 15-of-32 from the arc.

Morris Almond had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Rice (13-13, 7-6), which has dropped three straight games after winning three in a row. The Owls shot 37 percent (22-of-59) and turned over the ball 20 times.

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    RICE 34 29 63
    MEMPHIS (7) 52 47 99 FINAL

    Feb 22 8:49 PM

    RICE 34

    Feb 22 7:46 PM