for this game

Douglas-Roberts, Memphis pull away from Texas-Arlington

Mar 22, 2008 - 7:13 AM
LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (Ticker) -- Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 23 points and Antonio Anderson added 17 as top-seeded Memphis fended off game Texas-Arlington, 87-63, in a first-round matchup out of the South Regional on Friday.

Freshman Derrick Rose also chipped in 17 points for the Tigers (34-1), who shot 52 percent (27-of-52) from the floor.

Aspiring to reach its first Final Four since 1985, Memphis will face Mississippi State, which defeated Oregon earlier, in the second round on Sunday.

"I never underestimated them because they're a tournament team," Douglas-Roberts said. "We have seen before teams get upset and close games throughout the tournament. We didn't underestimate them at all. This is the type of game we need the first round.

"This shows how the rest of the tournament is going to be. The next game is going to be even tougher game. I'm glad they came out and challenged us."

Texas-Arlington (21-12) scored the game's first four points and held an early three-point edge, but Memphis went on a 12-0 run - capped by a Rose 3-pointer - to take a 15-6 lead with 13:58 left in the first half.

Memphis continued to stretch its lead, taking a 27-13 bulge on a 3-pointer by Anderson with 9:32 left in the first half before the Mavericks cut the deficit down to single digits late in the half.

But the Tigers finished the half strong and took a 45-31 advantage at the break on Rose's putback layup right before the half.

"We shot the ball well, took care of the ball fairly well, and then in the second half, we made a few defensive plays that we did not make in the first half," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "They shot the ball 50 percent (in the first half) against us. We're supposed to be one of the best defensive teams in the country. Didn't show today, but again the other thing I would tell you, this first game is a hard one for everybody."

Memphis maintained its double-digit lead throughout the second half, despite the best efforts from Texas-Arlington, which had trailed by 14 with less than 12 minutes to play.

"Our guys fought for 40 straight minutes," Mavericks coach Scott Cross said. "They battled. They - our guys - came out with the mentality we were going to win this game. I love that about them. We've got fighters on our team. I couldn't be more proud of our guys."

The Mavericks shot just 37 percent (11-of-30) in the second half, including 1-of-7 from the arc.

Anthony Vereen scored 20 points to lead the Mavericks, who were making their first NCAA Tournament appearance in school history.

"I think that this sets the bar for our program," Vereen said. "We never really experienced success before like this. Now that we have, you know, we can only go up from here. I'm proud for my seniors. They fought hard, and I think it's going to help us go nowhere but up from here."