Thursday, February 20, 2003

Memphis 80, Louisville 73

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Louisville coach Rick Pitino thinks Memphis played its way into the NCAA tournament. Tigers coach John Calipari wasn't so after his team's 80-73 victory over his fourth-ranked Cardinals on Wednesday night.

"I like where we're moving, I like the direction, but we've got to win every game," Calipari said. "Any time we lose, it's going to be a devastating loss."

Antonio Burks had 16 points to lead five double-figure scorers for Memphis (17-5, 8-3 Conference USA), which outrebounded the Cardinals 47-31.

Reece Gaines, the hero of Louisville's 73-70 victory over Marquette on Saturday, scored 19 points, but went 5-for-18 from the field and 1-for-9 from 3-point range.

Chris Massie had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Earl Barron also had 11 rebounds for the Tigers, who won their sixth straight game.

"They just took us to the woodshed on the glass," Pitino said. "They deserved the victory."

Rebounding wasn't the only deficient area for Louisville.

The Cardinals went 5-for-23 (22 percent) from 3-point range - their worst effort since going 4-for-19 in a loss to Purdue in the second game of the season. And Louisville's full-court pressure helped generate 15 turnovers, but no fast-break points.

"Our press hasn't been that effective all year," Pitino said. "It's been one of my worst pressing teams as a coach. We didn't play well offensively, either."

Five players fouled out of the tightly called game that had 61 fouls.

Massie fell awkwardly with 14:08 left in the game. He returned, but Calipari said he played with a broken nose.

Louisville forward Ellis Myles left in the second half with a shoulder injury but also returned for the final minutes.

The Tigers led 74-67 with 50 seconds left, when John Grice stepped to the free-throw line. He made the first, then made a throat-slashing gesture, drawing a technical foul.

Calipari screamed at Grice, while Simeon Naydenov hit the free throws for Louisville. Gaines added another one seven seconds later to draw Louisville within five.

"He doesn't understand when you do that throat thing, you don't look classy," Calipari said.

Burks missed a layup, Myles rebounded and Erik Brown made two free throws with 35 seconds left to cut the lead to three.

Louisville got no closer. The Tigers, the second-worst free throw shooting team in the conference, went 5-of-6 from the line over the final 20 seconds, including two by Grice.

"It was a huge win," said Memphis guard Billy Richmond, the only Tiger to foul out. "Everybody should be proud of us. We took away pretty much everything they wanted to do. We wanted to be the aggressor."

But Calipari stopped short of calling the win the biggest of the season for Memphis. He pointed to the Tigers' 58-57 victory at Tulane on Feb. 13.

"That Tulane was as significant a game as I've coached in. We shot 36 percent and still won. That makes a statement about defense," Calipari said. "If you don't do that, you don't come here and win."

Memphis outrebounded Louisville 19-12 and forced 10 turnovers in the opening half, but led only 35-31.

The teams were tied at 59, but Grice made two free throws and Barron rebounded a miss by Myles and found Burks downcourt for a breakaway layup for a 63-59 lead.

The 7-foot Barron, who missed the last four games with a sprained ankle, hit two free throws with 3:58 remaining to give Memphis a 67-61 lead.

Louisville freshman Francisco Garcia made two free throws with 3:41 left, but Jeremy Hunt scored on a drive and drew a fifth foul on 6-10 Louisville center Marvin Stone with 3:10 remaining.

While Pitino mulled a replacement for Stone, Calipari walked onto the court and embraced Hunt.

The Cardinals twice cut the lead to four, but the Tigers always answered. Rodney Carney made two free throws with 1:22 left and Burks added two more with 1:02 to go to push the lead to eight.

The Cardinals hadn't lost a home game since Temple beat them 65-62 in the second round of last season's NIT.

"They just wanted it more than we did. We played terrible," said Stone, who had 10 points and two rebounds. "There's no excuse for playing the way we did."

MEMPHIS (17-5)-Carney 2-3 6-8 12, Erwin 1-1 0-0 2, Massie 5-13 2-2 12, Burks 6-14 4-8 16, Rice 2-5 2-2 7, Wade 0-0 0-0 0, Hunt 3-6 4-8 10, Richmond 2-4 0-3 4, Grice 1-3 8-11 10, Barron 1-4 5-6 7. Totals 23-53 31-48 80.

LOUISVILLE (19-3)-Myles 3-6 1-2 7, Garcia 4-6 6-6 17, Stone 4-10 2-2 10, Dean 1-2 2-2 5, Gaines 5-18 8-12 19, Dartez 0-0 0-0 0, Northern 0-1 0-0 0, Mohammed 0-0 0-0 0, Naydenov 0-1 5-6 5, Whitehead 1-4 4-4 6, Brown 1-4 2-2 4, O'Bannon 0-1 0-0 0, George 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-53 30-36 73.

Halftime-Memphis 35, Louisville 31. 3-Point field goals-Memphis 3-9 (Carney 2-3, Rice 1-2, Hunt 0-2, Grice 0-2), Louisville 5-23 (Garcia 3-5, Dean 1-2, Gaines 1-9, Myles 0-1, Northern 0-1, Naydenov 0-1, Whitehead 0-1, Brown 0-2, O'Bannon 0-1). Rebounds-Memphis 47 (Massie, Barron 11), Louisville 31 (Whitehead 6). Assists-Memphis 11 (Burks 4), Louisville 11 (Gaines 7). Total fouls-Memphis 27, Louisville 34. Fouled out-Richmond, Garcia, Stone, Dean, O'Bannon. Technicals-Richmond, Grice. A-19,786.

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Today's high school schedule
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Boys Games: Bacon opens defense of state title
Girls Games: West picks up for injured star
Ky. Boys: Ryle, Doellman knock off Dixie
Ky. Girls: Dixie knocks off Ryle
LeBron to have number retired
West, Ross bring home sectional championships
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Ohio wrestling polls
Ky. swim meet delayed a week
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