Rose, first-half run helps Memphis blow past Michigan StateMar 29, 2008 - 5:47 AM Memphis had essentially punched its ticket to the "Elite Eight" by the intermission.
Freshman Derrick Rose scored a season-high 27 points and Chris Douglas-Roberts had 25 as the top-seeded Tigers cruised past fifth-seeded Michigan State, 92-74, in a South Regional semifinal on Friday.
Memphis (36-1) outscored Michigan State, 34-7, over the final 12:40 of the first half, taking a commanding 50-20 bulge at the break. The Tigers scored the final 15 points of the half.
"That first half of basketball was one of the best I've been involved in as a coach," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "I loved how unselfish we were and I loved how we guarded."
The Tigers shot 63 percent (20-of-32) in the opening 20 minutes and outrebounded the Spartans, 22-6, in the first half. The first-half output also was more than what the Spartans had allowed in four total contests during the season.
"It got out of hand so quickly," Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said. "I don't know why, we looked like we seemed to be walking in quicksand. We played bad, they played well and the combination was ugly. The only guy who had played in a game like this was Drew (Neitzel) and it showed. Nobody's done that to us all year."
Memphis built the lead up to as much as 61-27 before the Spartans used a 17-0 run to cut the deficit in half at 61-44 with 10:11 remaining.
Michigan State (27-9) continued to try and make a run, closing within 74-60 with under five minutes remaining, but the contest was never in doubt down the stretch.
The Tigers will next take on Texas, which defeated Stanford earlier Friday, in the regional final on Sunday.
"It's another game I'm hating to play because (Texas coach) Rick (Barnes) and I are friends," Calipari said. "Seeing this building (filled with Texas fans), I'd just as well play it in Austin. We had to play UCLA in California and Texas A&M in San Antonio (in previous NCAAs).
"The pressure shifts to Texas. In front of 35,000 fans, they have a marked advantage. We'll be picked to lose."
Rose was 10-of-16 from the floor and Douglas-Roberts led an effective free-throw shooting game for Memphis, making 11-of-12 from the stripe. The much-maligned Tigers were 26-of-35 (74 percent) from the foul line.
"I've never worried about that," Calipari said. "We'll make the ones when we need to. Percentages don't matter now. It's the mental toughness of your team."
Goran Suton led the way with 23 points and freshman Chris Allen had a season-high 20 for the Spartans, who shot 56 percent (20-of-36) in the second half.
Senior Neitzel went scoreless until the final 1:45 of the game, making two consecutive 3-pointers to finish with six points on 2-of-8 shooting and seven assists.
"They did a great job on me," Neitzel said. "I didn't get a lot of open looks. (Shawn) Taggart was stepping up and I got a few slips to Goran. (Antonio) Anderson did a great job and made it tough on me."
- SOUTH REGIONAL
NCAA BB SOUTH REGIONAL
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
MICHIGAN ST (20) 20 54 74
MEMPHIS (3) 50 42 92 FINAL
Mar 29 12:16 AM
- SOUTH REGIONAL
NCAA BB (5) MICHIGAN ST 20
(1) MEMPHIS 50 HALFTIME
Mar 28 10:48 PM
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