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Memphis rolls past Rice, off to best start in conference history

Jan 17, 2008 - 6:31 AM HOUSTON (Ticker) -- Little appears to stand in the way of Memphis having its way in Conference USA play.

Chris Douglas-Roberts and Doneal Mack each scored 16 points as the second-ranked Tigers jumped out early and never looked back, dismantling Rice, 77-50, on Wednesday.

With the win, Memphis (16-0, 3-0 CUSA) set a new conference mark by winning its first 16 games, surpassing former member Cincinnati, which began the 1998-99 campaign with a 15-0 record.

As easily as the Tigers won, surprisingly, they could have played much better. The Tigers shot just 23 percent (7-for-31) from the arc and barely outrebounded the smaller Owls, 42-41.

However, Memphis did force Rice into 29 turnovers, turning them in 26 points.

Antonio Anderson scored five points during a game-opening 19-4 run that left Memphis out in front less than eight minutes into the contest.

Although the Owls (3-13, 0-3) answered with a 17-9 stretch to cut their deficit to eight at 28-21, Douglas-Roberts and Joey Dorsey quickly scored the next six points to push the advantage back up to double digits at 34-21 with 2:40 left in the first half.

After Lawrence Ghoram hit a pair of free throws to account for the only points for Rice over the final 4:06 of the opening stanza, Mack hit a 3-pointer to trigger a 6-0 run in the final 86 seconds that gave Memphis a commanding 40-23 lead at intermission.

The Tigers kept adding to their lead despite missing 19 of their first 22 3-point attempts. Memphis missed nine consecutive 3-pointers before Mack connected with 11:26 left to put his team up 60-35.

The lead grew to as many as 29 points at 77-48 after another 3-pointer from Mack with 1:30 remaining.

Anderson finished with 10 points and Dorsey grabbed 14 rebounds for the Tigers, who extended their league-record winning streak over conference teams to 26 games.

Paulius Packevicius finished with 13 points and 12 boards for Rice, which has lost six straight.

    --- --- -----
    MEMPHIS (2) 40 37 77
    RICE 23 27 50 FINAL

    Jan 16 10:10 PM

    NCAA BB (2) MEMPHIS 40

    Jan 16 9:01 PM