Memphis bounces back, cruises over TulsaFeb 28, 2008 - 5:02 AM MEMPHIS, Tennessee (Ticker) -- Memphis did not let its first loss of the season affect its continuing dominance of Conference USA.
Willie Kemp led five players in double figures with 14 points and Shawn Taggert had 12 as No. 3 Memphis cruised past Tulsa, 82-67, on Wednesday.
Doneal Mack also chipped in 12 points for the Tigers (27-1, 13-0 C-USA), who saw their 47-game home winning streak and run of perfection end in Saturday's 66-62 loss to then-No. 2 Tennessee.
"What happened against Tennessee was that we never moved the ball more than three passes in the second half," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "We went back to what we did early in the season which was three or four drives unless you have something. I was really encouraged and I think the bench was terrific."
But that loss did not cause a letdown for Memphis, which has now won 36 straight conference games, and can clinch its third straight regular-season conference title with another victory or a UAB loss in the next three games.
The Golden Hurricane (15-11, 6-7) scored the game's first five points before the Tigers answered with a 21-3 burst - which included a stretch of 16 straight - to take a 21-8 lead with 9:48 left in the first half. Kemp capped the run with back-to-back 3-pointers and Memphis held Tulsa without a point for nearly seven minutes.
"We started the game great, and we really went after them," Tulsa coach Doug Wojcik said. "I thought we got a little tentative and didn't believe, and they stunned us a little bit. Not many people are going to beat them when they shoot it as well as they did from the three."
The Tigers went on a 12-0 run - keyed by seven points from Antonio Anderson - later in the first half to open up a 38-14 bulge, and Memphis held a 24-point lead at the break on Mack's buzzer-beating 3-pointer.
Memphis shot 9-of-16 from the arc in the opening 20 minutes, and leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts did not have a point, going just 0-of-1 from the floor.
The Tigers remained comfortably in front throughout the second half, leading by as many as 28 points at 61-33 with 14:08 remaining before Tulsa rallied late to make the score more respectable.
"That may have been our first best half of basketball," Calipari said. "We got a little sloppy in the second half. I give Doug (Wojcik) credit. They were not going to just go away."
Douglas-Roberts finished with nine points in just 16 minutes and freshman Derrick Rose added nine points and eight assists for Memphis, which finished the game 13-of-25 from the arc.
The Tigers got 43 points from their bench and turned 17 Golden Hurricane turnovers into 23 points.
Ray Reese scored 18 points and Ben Uzoh added 17 to pace the Golden Hurricane, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
"I'm really proud of our guys in the second half," Wojcik said. "We scored 48 points in the second half - outscored them, 48-39. Guys were really doing a good job and quite honestly you talk about the moral victories of it all, it doesn't feel good sitting in the first half when you're getting your butt kicked.
"We really came out and played well in the second half."
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