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Memphis extends winning streak to 24, loses leading scorer

Mar 19, 2007 - 2:10 AM NEW ORLEANS (Ticker) -- Memphis lost its leading scorer to a sprained ankle in the second half. But that didn't stop the Tigers from extending the nation's longest winning streak.

Despite the absence of Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis scored the last 14 points of the game to complete a 78-62 victory over Nevada in the second round of the NCAA Tournament's South Region.

The Tigers (32-3) will take a 24-game winning streak into Thursday's contest against third-seeded Texas A&M in the regional semifinals.

Memphis lost in the NCAA Tournament West Region finals to UCLA last season.

Douglas-Roberts scored 16 points before he left the game with a left ankle injury with 7:31 left. Memphis held a 64-57 lead at the time.

"When your leading scorer goes down and we come together like that as a team, for a coach, that gets pretty emotional," Memphis coach John Calipari said.

The Tigers certainly had an excuse to crack down the stretch, And it appeared they would when Dennis Ikovlev made a 3-pointer with 6:56 left and Nick Fazekas converted a pair of free throws 39 seconds later to pull Nevada within 64-62. Those would be the last points for the Wolf Pack.

"You look at us swarm on defense and run and cover for each other, I couldn't ask any more as a coach," Calipari said. "I've got a good bunch of guys who are trying to do something unique."

Nevada (29-5) had a chance to tie the game, but Fazekas, a three-time Western Athletic Conference Player of the Year, missed a short jumper in the lane with 5:06 left.

"That is a shot I make nine out of 10 times and that could have changed the whole game because that would have changed the momentum and the game would have been tied," Fazekas said.

Antonio Anderson then made two free throws with 4:59 left to give Memphis a 66-62 lead. The sophomore guard added a layup and another free throw and Andre Allen converted a layup and a jumper to highlight the game-ending run.

"We are a deep team," said Anderson, who finished with 16 points. "We can overcome an injury because we can bring plenty of guys off our bench. That's why we do what we do."

Memphis' bench outscored the Wolf Pack's reserves, 31-2. Jeremy Hunt provided 16 of those points and Allen added 10.

"We knew we had to do it on the defensive end first," Hunt said. "We had to do it as a team. There wasn't just one player out there trying to do it on their own on offense. We do it as a team. And we made our free throws at the end when it really counted."

Fazekas collected 20 points and seven rebounds in his final college game. He finished as the school's all-time leading scorer (2,464 points) and second-leading rebounder (1,254) and is expected to be a lottery pick in the NBA draft.

Marcelus Kemp added 18 points for the Wolf Pack, who shot just 37 percent from the field.

Memphis, which shoots just 61 percent from the free throw line, made 26-of-34 attempts.

Douglas-Roberts' status for Thursday is uncertain. He has a mild-to-moderate sprain of the left ankle.

"He said he's playing Thursday, but we don't know," Calipari said of Douglas-Roberts. "If he can't go, he can't go. I feel bad, but I don't know yet. Will they move the game to Friday to accomodate that? I don't think so."

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    NEVADA 33 29 62
    MEMPHIS 37 41 78 FINAL

    Mar 18 7:06 PM

    NCAA BB (7) NEVADA 33

    Mar 18 5:47 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 39 roots

    Nevada vs. MemphisMar 18 4:57 PM