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Rose flirts with triple-double; Memphis remains perfect

Jan 26, 2008 - 8:51 PM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- The last time Memphis found itself atop the college basketball world, it was a short-lived experience. Freshman guard Derrick Rose wasn't going to let that happen again.

Rose just missed a triple-double with 19 points, eight rebounds and nine assists, leading the top-ranked Tigers to an 81-73 victory over Gonzaga on Saturday.

In 1983 when they were tabbed the nation's No. 1 team, the Tigers promptly lost and fell to sixth in the rankings.

Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 21 points and Joey Dorsey added nine and 13 rebounds for the Tigers, who extended the nation's longest homecourt winning streak to 43 games.

"What a great environment," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "Again, when I say it takes a village to do this what we're doing, it's not me, it's us. It's everybody in this community. Our students were here at 6:30 in the morning in that cold. You had our fans in this building at 10:30. They were there when we needed our fans to help us make a run."

Memphis (19-0) started fast, jumping out to a 10-0 lead just over two minutes into the game. The Tigers still held a 25-13 lead at the 10:04 mark of the first half after Doneal Mack drained a 3-pointer.

Gonzaga (15-5) responded with a 11-0 run over the next five minutes, closing to 25-24.

After both teams traded baskets over the next three minutes, the Bulldogs took their first lead at 32-30 when Micah Downs drilled a shot from the arc with 2:19 left before intermission.

However, Memphis closed out strong, shutting out Gonzaga over the remainder of the first half. Rose ended the first 20 minutes with an emphatic two-handed dunk - just his second field basket of the first half - as time expired to send the Tigers into the break with a 35-32 advantage.

"You see my freshman (Rose) is still learning," Calipari said. "He did some things, turned it over and missed some shots, but at the end of the day when he had to make the play, he made it."

"I thought we made a couple bonehead decisions towards the end of the first half," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "It was where we wanted the ball and what we were trying to do. Jeremy (Pargo) played great all night, but took an ill-advised three. You almost have to be perfect in here (Memphis)."

Much like it did in the first half, Memphis blitzed Gonzaga early in the second half, going on a 9-2 run over the first 2 1/2 minutes to establish a double-digit lead.

"The two runs that Memphis had (at the beginning of each half) really hurt us," Few said. "By and large, I thought we battled pretty good. We took care of the ball and shot a good enough percentage to win."

The Bulldogs trimmed the deficit to 46-41 after a 3-pointer from freshman Steven Gray with 15:01 remaining. But the Tigers reeled off the next seven points to again take control with 13:49 remaining.

Memphis increased the bulge to as many as 16 points midway through the second half, but could not put away Gonzaga.

"We need every game to learn from," Calipari said. "What we found out today is you're playing a Sweet 16-Elite Eight team. If that's (a neutral-site game), we probably could have lost how we played down the stretch because it would have been (a closer game).

The Bulldogs were able to hang around thanks to Pargo, who scored 12 of his 16 second-half points over the final 10 minutes.

Gonzaga cut its deficit to as few as six points with 54 seconds left in the game following a free throw from Josh Heytvelt.

However, the Tigers made 6-of-8 free throws in the final minute, giving Calipari his 200th coaching win with Memphis.

"Memphis has a chance to be real special," Few said. They seem to get along great. They share it; they make the extra and the extra pass to each other. Everybody is doing a good job when they're pulling the rope, doing their roles.

"Memphis is terrific, really terrific, and they are worthy of No. 1. They got the pieces. They're shooting it good. What is so impressive is that Cal (Calipari) has done a great job. They're sharing it and playing hard."

Pargo finished with 25 points for the Bulldogs, who had a six-game winning streak stopped.

    --- --- -----
    GONZAGA 32 41 73
    MEMPHIS (1) 35 46 81 FINAL

    Jan 26 2:02 PM

    GONZAGA 32

    Jan 26 12:44 PM
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    MaxOmuS Added 5 roots

    Gonzaga vs. Memphis(1)Jan 25 11:04 PM