Tulane vs Memphis

No. 4 Memphis extends nation's longest winning streak to 23

CBSSports.com wire reports

C-USA bracket

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Memphis coach John Calipari feels he and his fourth-ranked Tigers escaped the upsets that knocked off three of the nation's top teams Thursday night.

And he hopes a sloppy win over Tulane helped get the Tigers' poor play out of their own system.

Shawn Taggart scored 19 points, and Memphis extended the nation's longest winning streak to 23 by holding off Tulane 51-41 in the quarterfinals of the Conference USA tournament in the Tigers' lowest scoring game this season.

"Thank God we're a good defensive team. This was a loss waiting to happen," Calipari said.

The Tigers (29-3) are trying to add a fourth consecutive tournament championship to their fourth regular-season title in a row, and playing on their home floor helped them push their C-USA winning streak to 59 games overall.

That could help clinch a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament for last season's runner-up, especially with No. 2 Pittsburgh, No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 11 Kansas all losing.

"It's about winning and marching on," Calipari said. "This was ugly. It didn't look like us, but I want to give credit to Tulane. They were ready for us. They knew they could play us. They played us good last time. It's not just us. It was them. They did a good job."

The only hope Tulane (14-17) had of reaching the NCAA tournament came through winning the league's automatic bid as tournament champ despite not beating the Tigers in Memphis since 1992. Tulane led 32-28 after Robinson Louisme's dunk with 16:45 but didn't score another field goal until Kris Richard's jumper with 49.2 seconds left.

"If the game was the first one to 32, we would've won," Tulane coach Dave Dickerson said, trying to joke. "We stayed on 32 for about 13 minutes."

By then, it was too late.

Tyreke Evans scored all 16 points in the second half with his first 12 starting an 18-0 run as Memphis grabbed the lead for good and put away Tulane for a fourth tournament in a row.

Louisme finished with 10 points.

This being the second game within six days between the teams may have helped the Green Wave who didn't back down from Memphis early despite losing here last Saturday 74-47 in the regular-season finale. The Tigers seemed a bit tired and a sloppy for chunks of the game.

But Evans, picked as the league's Freshman of the Year earlier in the week and the only freshman finalist for the John R. Wooden Award for Player of the Year, got going a few minutes into the second half. He had missed his first five shots, including a 3 within the opening minute of the second half that fell well short of the rim.

He finally scored on a layup with 15:47 left -- the first of his 10 consecutive points that put Memphis ahead to stay.

Evans tied it at 32 with a baseline layup, then he stole the ball and dunked to put them ahead to stay. Evans missed a shot, then twisted and tipped it in. He followed that with a miss, Robert Dozier tipped it out and Evans grabbed the rebound and scored for a 38-32 margin. At one point, Evans had 12 of Memphis' 15 points in the half.

"They did a good job of getting the ball to me in the post, and I made a couple baskets to get us ahead," Evans said. "I picked it up the second half. I didn't do a good job the first half."

The Tigers also forced three turnovers during that stretch including a five-second call on Tulane's inbound attempt and Asim McQueen missed a 3 trying to beat the shot clock that was way left of the basket.

"Memphis had a lot to do with that," Dickerson said. "They're long. They're athletic, and they just put a shield over the basket. ... If you can't score against them, you won't beat them and no one has scored consistently against them this year."

Memphis led 26-24 after a first half in which Tulane led as much as five a couple times, the last at 17-12 on a pair of Johnny Mayhane free throws. Calipari credited Taggart with keeping the Tigers in the game.

Dozier started a 12-3 run that included the Tigers' lone 3 of the first half from Doneal Mack, then Taggart took over. Taggart, who hit 6-for-7 from the floor in the first half, hit a free throw, then scored again for a 22-18 lead. He finished the half with a dunk, then two free throws with 2:05 left for the Tigers' final points of the half.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.
Shawn Taggart (19 points) and Memphis fend off Tulane to win a 23rd consecutive game.  (US Presswire)
Shawn Taggart (19 points) and Memphis fend off Tulane to win a 23rd consecutive game. (US Presswire)
Related Links
Tulane (14-17)241741
Memphis #4 (29-3) «262551
TLN:Robinson Louisme 10 Pts
TLN:Robinson Louisme 8 Reb
TLN:Kevin Sims 2 Ast
MEM:S. Taggart 19 Pts
MEM:R. Dozier 10 Reb
MEM:T. Evans 4 Ast

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S. Taggart
R. Louisme
Tulane Green Wave
K. Sims, G390-93-52203
K. Richard, G384-141-27229
A. McQueen, F370-41-25201
R. Louisme, F-C334-72-281310
D. Puckett, F253-90-04036
E. Vianney, G101-22-20025
D. Booker, F81-10-02022
J. Mayhane, F71-22-21035
T. Rogers, G30-10-00010
J. Andersen, FDid Not Play
G. Hogan, FDid Not Play
N. Scott, GDid Not Play
K. Timmons, GDid Not Play
Totals 14-4911-152971641
Memphis Tigers
T. Evans, G355-146-654116
A. Anderson, G311-30-03222
R. Dozier, F301-50-110022
S. Taggart, F307-105-891119
D. Mack, G293-80-01217
R. Sallie, G211-41-21023
W. Witherspoon, G-F111-10-01032
W. Kemp, G80-30-10220
P. Henderson-Niles, F50-00-00000
C. McGrady, GDid Not Play
J. Robinson, GDid Not Play
C. Henry, GDid Not Play
M. Simpkins, FDid Not Play
P. Laird, GDid Not Play
A. Garcia, FDid Not Play
Totals 19-4812-1830111451
Conference USA
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Middle Tenn.17-131-535
La. Tech14-423-10117
Old Dominion12-619-12136
Western Ky.9-915-17226
UT-San Antonio8-1014-19264
So. Miss6-129-22331
North Texas2-168-22339
Other games
PROV 55 Final
Louisville 73
STL 47 Final
XAV 66
Baylor 71 Final
Kansas 64
GT 86 Final
MU 75 Final
Arizona 56 Final
Ariz St 68
AF 69 Final
BYU 80
Stanford 73 Final
Wash 85
Okla St 71 Final
Oklahoma 70
W Virg 74 Final
Syracuse 127 Final
UConn 117
TXTCH 60 Final
Missouri 81
Wash St 53 Final