Memphis holds off North Texas | NevadaAppeal.com

Memphis holds off North Texas

DARRELL MOODY
Appeal Sports Writer

NEW ORLEANS, La. – One thing you notice about Memphis is that it plays defense and is extremely quick.

The second-seeded Tigers used that quickness to force 19 turnovers and hold North Texas to a 35-percent effort from the floor en route to a 73-58 win in a first-round game in the South Regional at New Orleans Arena.

Memphis, 31-3, advances to a second-round match-up with Nevada, 29-4, on Sunday afternoon.

“I think we did what we were trying to do,” Memphis coach John Calipari said. “We were pressing them, trying to get them to turn it over so we can make some runs.

“We wanted to press them. We wanted to run and we wanted to play fast. I think you saw today we had some hiccups here and there, turnovers early. The reality is with Chris (Douglas-Roberts) being in foul trouble and playing a little sub-par. Joey (Dorsey) made plays at the end.”

North Texas played on adrenalin much of the first half, and had leads of five and six points, respectively.

Keith Wooden scored seven of his 10 first-half points in the first 5 1/2 minutes of the game. His three-point play gave the Mean Green a 17-11 lead with 14:32 remaining.

The game was tied at 18 and again at 28 before the Tigers’ pressure and athleticism got to North Texas.

Memphis went on 9-0 half-ending run, as North Texas turned the ball over four times and missed twice from the field.

Dorsey scored twice for the Tigers, Jeremy Hunt drained a 3-pointer and Robert Dozier scored on a putback. Dorsey finished with nine points and 15 rebounds.

North Texas, behind the play of Wooden and Calvin Watson (13 points), stayed within five or six points for the first six-plus minutes until the game really got away.

Andre Allen, who scored 14 points off the bench, hit a lay-up and Donneal Mack drained his only 3-pointer of the game to get the lead to 51-40 with 11:38 left.

Douglas-Roberts, who led Memphis with 16 points, scored 18 seconds later and Mack drained a free throw for a 54-40 lead. Allen increased the lead to 15 with a single free throw.

The Mean Green scored seven straight to get the deficit back to 10, 59-49 with 5:53 left, but two free throws by Jeremy Hunt and a driving lay-up by Douglas Roberts made it a 12-point game. The Tigers never let the lead get below nine points the rest of the way.