Tigers pass Calipari’s exam

  • Associated Press
  • Saturday, December 22, 2007 11:19pm
  • SportsSports

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — John Calipari wanted to test his Memphis Tigers. Junior guard Chris Douglas-Roberts snapped out of his personal slump and helped them pass in dominating fashion.

Douglas-Roberts scored 24 points, Robert Dozier added 19 and the second-ranked Tigers beat No. 5 Georgetown 85-71 on Saturday, extending the nation’s second-longest home winning streak to 37 games.

“If you win, it’s a huge game,” Calipari said. “That’s why it was. We won it with defense. We executed offensively the best we executed all year.”

Freshman guard Derrick Rose had 18 points for Memphis, while Joey Dorsey had 11 points and 13 rebounds, grabbing 11 boards in the second half. The Tigers (10-0) are a win shy of matching their second-best start in 1982-83.

“They had contributions up and down the line,” Georgetown coach John Thompson III said. “That’s what good teams do. That’s why you have to look at them as one of the best, if not the best, team in the country right now because they can hurt you in so many different ways.”

Calipari wanted and needed tougher opponents this season to help offset the Conference USA schedule his Tigers play starting in January. He got exactly what he wanted with a bit of history for good measure.

This was the first time the Tigers played in a game on their home court with both teams ranked in the top five. They had only played in such a game twice before and not since the 1995-96 season when the then-No. 3 Tigers went to top-ranked Massachusetts and lost to a team coached by Calipari.

He also knows the blueprint for beating his Tigers has been deliberate offense with lots of passes and cuts, shooting late in the shot clock, play zone and sag on man-to-man and rebound.

“That’s Georgetown to a ‘T’. So we needed to play this to say, ‘Now we’ve played a team (that does that) … That blueprint everybody saw, I’m not sure it (works). It may be, maybe not,”’ Calipari said.

Douglas-Roberts had been 7-of-31 from the field over his last three games averaging 6.3 points. He also had eight rebounds, two assists and was 9-of-12 at the free throw line. Teammates had told him to settle down, play his game and not do anything extra.

“I was more aggressive,” Douglas-Roberts said. “The previous two I was playing lackadaisical. I don’t know why. My head really wasn’t into the game. I wasn’t up to the pace. I really don’t have an answer.”

Preseason All-American Roy Hibbert had a season-low six points for Georgetown (8-1).

“I need to make myself more assertive,” Hibbert said.

Austin Freeman had a team-high 14 points for the Hoyas, while DaJuan Summers had 13 and Patrick Ewing Jr. 10.

“We have a long way to go, and you know I think both ends of the floor to be honest,” Thompson said. “I felt like our offense let us down a little bit. Our offense led to a lot of their baskets.”

Memphis had played then-No. 24 Southern California on Dec. 4 in New York.

This was the first time Georgetown had faced a ranked opponent this season and only the third road game for the Hoyas. There was a sellout crowd of 18,864 — more than usual because Memphis added a few extra seats for the morning matinee and the Tigers’ first home game in 24 days.

Georgetown hadn’t played since routing Radford 110-51 on Dec. 15. Memphis won at Cincinnati on Wednesday night.

The Hoyas led by as many as eight points in the first half, but Memphis took control in the second by hitting the boards, outrebounding the Hoyas 43-30. It was a season-low for Georgetown.

Dorsey, who picked up his second foul less than eight minutes into the first half, helped the Tigers dominate the boards in the second. He had seven within the first 4:20. Memphis missed 11 of its first 12 shots and trailed 46-45 on a steal and layup by Chris Wright with 15:40 to go.

Dorsey said he hoped he was out of his own slump.

“To prove to myself that I can play against some of the top big men in the country, and I think I did well,” said the senior forward, who spent a lot of time guarding Hibbert.

Jessie Sapp missed on a drive, and the Tigers finally heated up with nine straight points.

Dozier hit a jumper that put Memphis ahead to stay. Douglas-Roberts hit a jumper, a 3-pointer and dunked on the fast-break after Antonio Anderson stole the ball from Sapp for a 54-46 lead with 12:18 left.

The Tigers just kept padding their lead after that, reaching double digits on two free throws by Douglas-Roberts with 7:03 to go. They got it up to as many as 17 twice and finished 17-of-22 from the free throw line in the second half.

Georgetown’s last eight-point lead was 35-27 on a fast-break layup by Ewing.

The Tigers settled down and started hitting some shots. Rose, who said he came to Memphis to play in big games like this, started them off with a three-point play with 3:45 left.

Douglas-Roberts rebounded a missed 3 by Rose under the basket and laid it up for a 41-40 lead with 49 seconds to go. Dozier added a dunk off a pass from Kemp for the halftime lead.

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