Saturday, March 15, 2003

C-USA: No. 20 Louisville tops No. 16 Memphis


UAB continues unlikely run

The Associated Press

LOUISVILLE - Freshman Taquan Dean rattled in a 3-pointer with 11.1 seconds left for his only basket of the game, giving Louisville a 78-75 victory over Memphis in the Conference USA tournament semifinals Friday night.

Dean's shot from the wing over Rodney Carney gave the Cardinals (23-6) a 76-75 lead. Memphis guard Billy Richmond missed a one-handed baseline shot at the other end. Louisville's Luke Whitehead rebounded and was fouled.

Whitehead sank two free throws with 4.3 seconds left. He finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, his third straight double-double.

The Tigers called timeout, but Memphis point guard Antonio Burks missed a 3-point attempt off the back of the rim as time expired.

John Grice went 6-for-10 from 3-point range and scored a career-high 29 to lead 16th-ranked Memphis (23-6), which had a 12-game winning streak snapped. Chris Massie, the Tigers' 6-foot-10 center, went scoreless for the first time this season against constant double-teams.

Francisco Garcia and Marvin Stone had 15 points apiece for No. 20 Louisville. The Cardinals will play Alabama-Birmingham in tonight's title game.

Earlier, the school cleared the 6-foot-10 Stone to play as the NCAA continues to investigate whether he accepted illegal benefits earlier in his career.

Stone had missed three of Louisville's last four games, but started against the Tigers.

The Cardinals led by nine at halftime, but Grice sank three 3-pointers in the first nine minutes of the second half as Memphis chipped away at the lead.

Louisville led 65-63 when leading scorer Reece Gaines fouled out with 4:13 left. Gaines finished with 10 points.

Burks gave Memphis its first lead of the second half, at 71-70, with a midcourt steal and layup with 1:29 to go.

Grice sank two free throws with 32.7 seconds left to put Memphis up 74-71. Garcia answered with two free throws nine seconds later.

Burks made a free throw, but missed the second and Louisville moved the ball to Dean on the right wing for the go-ahead shot.

LOUISVILLE (23-6)-Brown 2-4 0-0 4, George 2-4 1-1 5, Stone 4-6 7-11 15, Dean 1-8 1-4 4, Gaines 3-9 4-9 10, Tinch 0-0 0-0 0, Dartez 1-3 0-0 2, Northern 3-5 0-0 9, Mohammed 0-0 3-5 3, Riggs 0-0 0-0 0, Whitehead 3-6 4-4 10, Garcia 4-9 6-8 15, O'Bannon 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 23-54 27-44 78.

MEMPHIS (23-6)-Massie 0-5 0-0 0, Carney 2-6 0-0 5, Barron 0-7 7-8 7, Burks 6-11 3-4 15, Rice 0-2 0-0 0, Wade 0-0 0-0 0, Hunt 2-5 12-19 18, Erwin 0-0 0-0 0, Richmond 0-2 1-2 1, Grice 8-13 7-9 29. Totals 18-51 30-42 75.

Halftime-Louisville 36-27. 3-point goals-Louisville 5-17 (Northern 3-5, Garcia 1-4, Dean 1-5, Gaines 0-3), Memphis 9-23 (Grice 6-10, Hunt 2-4, Carney 1-4, Burks 0-1, Barron 0-2, Rice 0-2).

UAB 63, Saint Louis 62

LOUISVILLE - Eric Bush scored on a driving layup with 11.9 seconds left to lift Alabama-Birmingham to a 63-62 win over Saint Louis in the Conference USA tournament semifinals Friday night.

The ninth-seeded Blazers (19-11) will play third-seeded and 20th-ranked Louisville (23-6) in Saturday's tournament championship. The Cardinals beat No. 16 Memphis 78-75 earlier Friday.

Bush and Gabe Kennedy each scored 16 points for UAB (19-11), which has won three in a row in the tournament since finishing the regular season with three straight losses.

Marque Perry had 20 points and six turnovers for Saint Louis (16-13), which had an eight-game winning streak snapped.

Perry failed on two chances to win the game. He missed a drive with 3 seconds left and Kennedy rebounded. The Billikens tied up Kennedy, forcing a jump ball.

Saint Louis got the ball on the alternating possession, but Perry couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

The Blazers led 34-18 at halftime and 44-22 early in the second half as Saint Louis struggled to handle UAB's pressure defense.

The Billikens then mounted an 18-4 run as UAB began to show fatigue from playing three games in three nights.

Bush hit a jumper with 10:37 left, but the Billikens continued to close the gap. Perry's drive with 1:23 left forged a 61-61 tie - the first since the game started.

Chris Sloan gave Saint Louis its only lead with a free throw with 23 seconds left.

The Blazers started with an 11-3 run fueled by three Saint Louis turnovers. UAB forced a tournament-record 20 steals in an 83-76 upset of eighth-ranked Marquette on Thursday.

The Billikens finished the first half 8-of-23 from the field (35 percent) and had nine turnovers.




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