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April 5, 2008

Memphis soars past UCLA in second half

VIDEO: Game highlights | MORE: Rivals.com NCAA Tourney Central

SAN ANTONIO Memphis guards Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts put on a show in the second half of Saturday's national semifinals, and UCLA couldn't keep up.

The duo outscored the entire Bruins team in the second half, 29-28. It proved to be a dominant final 20 minutes for the Tigers. They did just about everything right.

Memphis held UCLA freshman center Kevin Love to only two points in the final 20 minutes on 1-for-5 shooting. He had 10 points in the first half. "They were double-teaming me," Love said. "They had players, you know, swarming me, coming at me."

The Bruins were held to 32.4 percent shooting after the break.

UCLA, which made three of five 3-pointers in the first half, made only 1-for-8 (12.5 percent) the rest of the way.

The Tigers made 89.5 percent of their second-half free throws (17 of 19).

What had been a close game (38-35) when both teams went to the locker room turned into a 78-63 blowout for the Tigers.

"We clamped down on them," Memphis forward Robert Dozier said. "I think (UCLA point guard Darren Collison) split the pick and roll only once, and that's something they like to do."

Collison was a total non-factor. He was held to a season-low two points and continued a disturbing trend in the NCAA Tournament, where he had three single-digit scoring games after having only four during the entire regular season.

"We played our type of game, and we didn't let them slow us down," Tigers swingman Antonio Anderson said. "They wanted to in the second half, but we couldn't let it happen."

LOVE IN '09?

Love, whose sensational freshman season comes to a close with most believing it will be his only collegiate season, deflected the inevitable question about his future plans.

"I haven't given any thought about if it's my last college game," Love said. "As of right now, I'm still a UCLA Bruin. I'm enjoying my time and I'll be in class on Monday."

Love finished the season averaging 17.6 points and 10.7 rebounds. He was at his best in the NCAA Tournament with three consecutive double-doubles before his 12-point, nine-rebound showing against Memphis.

"This has been the best year of my life," Love said. "I know we didn't come out on top. Coach mentioned that. There's only one team at the end of the year that really feels truly satisfied. But you know, we've had a great year. Just being part of the UCLA program has been really huge for me."


One of the first people in the locker room to congratulate the Tigers was former Memphis guard Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway. He said he was thrilled to see his school reach the verge of a national championship.

He was particularly impressed with the duo of Rose and Roberts.

"CDR is a player who can do just about everything," Hardaway said. "He can put the ball on the floor, rebound, score."

Douglas-Roberts now has 118 points in five tournament games this season for an average of 23.6 ppg.

"The ways he scores freaks us out sometimes," Hardaway said.

Rose can be flashy, too. He hit a layup in which he went under the hoop and tossed the ball in windmill style. He isn't far behind Douglas-Roberts with 107 points (21.4 ppg).

Hardaway said Rose is the perfect complement.

"He is controlling these games," Hardaway said of the wondrous freshman.


Ben Howland has led UCLA to three consecutive Final Fours, but he has no titles to show for it and only one championship game appearance.

Three Final Fours is a great accomplishment. But it's only natural there are questions about what it takes to get over the hump.

"I don't know if there's some sweeping change that we need to do," Howland said. "I mean, it's very difficult, No. 1, to get here. There's only four teams that make it here each year, and it's a very difficult thing to do in itself. Unfortunately for us we've run up against three really good teams."

Those teams were Florida twice and Memphis.

"We ran into a team at the same time that had all five starters back, and we were retooling," Howland said. "I was really proud of the way we came back last year and got here. This year we ran into a great Memphis team.

"So every year is different. Get a new coach, maybe."

Then Howland managed a smile. And there's no chance the Bruins are letting him go anywhere.


Joey Dorsey didn't score a single point for Memphis, going 0-for-3 from the floor.

He still wound up being one of three Tigers selected to go to the interview room, along with Rose and Douglas-Roberts.

That's what 15 rebounds, two blocks, two assists and no turnovers in 27 minutes will get you.

"He just kept getting to balls," Love said. "He had a couple of big blocks and played a pretty good game."

VIDEO: Game highlights | MORE: Rivals.com NCAA Tourney Central

Bob McClellan is the college basketball editor for Rivals.com. He can be reached at bmcclellan@rivals.com.

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