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Memphis defeats Arizona, extends home winning streak

Dec 30, 2007 - 6:30 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Memphis used a big run early and held off Arizona to avenge one of its rare defeats from last season.

Robert Dozier scored 18 points and Chris Douglas-Roberts added 17 as the second-ranked Tigers posted a 76-63 victory over No. 18 Arizona on Saturday.

With the win, Memphis (11-0) extended its home winning streak to 38 games, tying for the longest active streak with No. 21 Brigham Young. The Tigers also avenged their most recent regular-season loss - a 79-71 setback at Arizona on December 20, 2006.

"It was a good win," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "In the second half they made a ton of shots. That's why you play games like this. I wanted to see what Kevin (O'Neill) would do. This is all good for us."

Memphis has now won 30 consecutive regular-season contests and remains one of six unbeaten teams in Division I.

Playing without leading scorer Jerryd Bayless, Arizona used an early 10-2 run to take a 14-6 advantage with 13:51 left in the first half.

However, the lead did not last as Memphis chipped away before scoring 16 unanswered points to take control of the game at 31-18 with 2:06 left in the half.

"We did not execute in the first half for a long period of time," Arizona coach Kevin O'Neill said. "We had a makeshift lineup in, and then we had three consecutive times where we missed a dunk or a layup. We had an opportunity to cut to a two-possession game late and we did not do it."

The Wildcats went without a field goal for more than 12 minutes at one point during the first half and trailed, 34-24, at the break. Arizona shot 8-of-29 (28 percent) from the floor in the opening 20 minutes.

Memphis led by as many as 13 points early in the second half but Arizona stayed close. Chase Budinger scored eight straight points, pulling the Wildcats within 53-46 with just under eight minutes to play.

However, the Tigers made their final eight shots from the field to hold off any threat from the Wildcats.

After leading by eight with under two minutes to play, Memphis scored seven straight points capped by freshman Derrick Rose's dunk with 23 seconds to play, giving Memphis its largest lead at 76-61.

Shawn Taggert had 15 points and seven rebounds for the Tigers, who outrebounded the Wildcats, 35-24, for the game. Memphis also held a 21-6 advantage in bench points.

Budinger finished with 20 points for the Wildcats, who shot 17-of-25 (68 percent) in the second half. Jordan Hill added 14 for Arizona, which had its six-game winning streak snapped.

Bayless, who leads the Wildcats in scoring at 18.5 points per game, missed the game with a sprained right knee that he suffered in practice on Friday. It is unknown how long the freshman guard will be out.

"It is unfortunate we lost but injuries are part of the game, and they beat us and that is no excuse," O'Neill said. "They beat us and that is all there is to it. What we have to do is get ready for some home games now and start the Pac-10."