Final - OT
  for this game

Memphis tops USC despite struggles of Douglas-Roberts, Rose

Dec 5, 2007 - 6:28 AM By Larry Fleisher PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

NEW YORK (Ticker) -- The first 40 minutes might have been the ugliest performance of the season for second-ranked Memphis, the next five were not much better but it was enough for the Tigers to remain unbeaten.

Antonio Anderson hit a key layup with 64 seconds remaining in overtime as Memphis continued its perfect start with a 62-58 victory over Southern California in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden on Tuesday.

Robert Dozier led the Tigers (7-0) with 13 points, but he shot 6-of-15 and missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer at the end of regulation. Chris Douglas-Roberts added 10 despite also appearing flat, going 4-of-13 from the field and missing a key free throw with eight seconds left in regulation.

Freshman Derrick Rose scored just eight points but he connected on two foul shots 52 seconds into the extra session that put the Tigers ahead for good and added one more with 12 seconds left that gave them a 62-58 edge.

"We're going to have to play some games like this, so we're going to have fight through them," Rose said.

With the win, Memphis remained off to its best start since going 8-0 to begin the 1995-96 season.

Another premier freshman, O.J. Mayo struggled in his first game in New York for USC. He finished 6-of-20 en route to scoring 16 points. It was the 6-5 guard's fourth straight game where he failed to score at least 20 points after doing it in four of his first five.

Memphis came into the game averaging 85.7 points through its first six contests, including two wins last month over Oklahoma and Connecticut in New York to win the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic title.

The Tigers did not approach that point total or the level of play in this one as they shot 36.8 percent (25-of-68), including 5-of-21 on 3-pointers.

They came back from deficits of seven and six points in the second half but could seal the win in regulation and scored just eight points in overtime.

While Memphis failed to crack double digits in the extra session, it also held USC to just four points and forced it to miss all 6-of-7 field goals after regulation. Mayo's basket with 1:15 left in overtime that made it a three-point game was the Trojans' first in nearly 9 1/2 minutes.

"We just came up short," said Mayo, who was 6-of-21 from the field in a 59-55 loss to then-No. 4 Kansas on Sunday. "We played better down the stretch than against Kansas."

"It was an ugly game but we found a way to win. We found the 'D'," Douglas-Roberts said. "The offense was ugly so we had to do something to win. It was all based on D - defense won this game."

Memphis took a 49-46 lead on dunk by Rose with 6:20 remaining but did not have another field goal for just over the next four minutes.

USC got to within 52-51 when Daniel Hackett made a pair of foul shots with 62 seconds left and tied it at 54-54 when the sophomore split a pair with 5.9 seconds remaining in regulation.

After Hackett's second miss from the stripe, Rose grabbed the ball and raced up the court, finding Dozier on the left wing as time wound done but his attempt hit off the front rim.

One of the reasons for the ugly offensive display had to do with the Tigers facing a triangle-and-two defense that the Trojans used for a good portion of the night. Memphis had only seen it on film and quickly discovered that playing against it is vastly different from viewing it on tape.

"We were kind of thrown off because we hadn't seen that all year," Douglas-Roberts said. "So we didn't really have too many plays to run for that. So we were kind of thrown off."

"What I was afraid of was they would go to a triangle and two," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "When you start the game where we miss a layup, we miss a wide-open shots, it put us on our heels and then (USC coach Tim Floyd) just messed around defensively. That is how people are going to have to play us. We ran our offense four or five times the whole game."

The game was hyped as the first collegiate matchup between Rose and Mayo, but neither did much.

Rose only took two shots in the first half. However, his worst moment of the opening 20 minutes came when his pass intended for Douglas-Roberts sailed into the stands.

That turnover was typical of Memphis' sub-par first half as it shot 34.5 percent (10-of-29) and was 0-of-6 from the line. The Tigers were able to stay in the game by holding the Trojans to 33.3 percent (12-of-36) from the floor.

The start of the second half may have been even more sloppy than the first. The teams combined for five turnovers in the first two minutes and Memphis missed its first four shots before Rose finally scored his first points of the game with just under 17 1/2 minutes remaining.

The Tigers finished with 22 turnovers, while USC had 21.

Mayo scored eight of USC's first 14 points of the game, including a 3-pointer with 13:18 remaining that gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead. Memphis quickly came back with a 17-7 run over the next eight-plus minutes that put it ahead 24-21 on a basket by Joey Dorsey with 4:24 remaining.

However, the Tigers missed their final four shots of the half and committed three of their 11 turnovers, allowing the Trojans to lead at half, 29-24.

Fellow USC freshman Davon Jefferson had 12 points and 13 rebounds and Hackett ended up scoring 10.

"It was a hard-fought game," Hackett said. "I thought we left everything on the court."