Bradley vs Memphis

Carney leads Memphis to Elite Eight for first time since '92

CBS wire reports

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rodney Carney counts on his first dunk of a game igniting his teammates' intensity.

Carney, athletic Tigers slam door on Bradley
by Dennis Dodd
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He dunked all right, he jumped in the passing lanes on defense, and Carney kept top-seeded Memphis from becoming another victim of Bradley's surprising NCAA run.

Carney contributed on both ends of the floor Thursday, scoring 23 points and leading a stingy defense that gave Memphis an 80-64 victory and put the Tigers in the regional final for the first time since 1992 -- back when Anfernee Hardaway was their star.

"That's what my dunks do," said Carney, who added three steals. "I spark the team with run-through dunks. It gives the team intensity. I want to dunk on 7-foot guys."

Darius Washington Jr. added 18 points and Shawne Williams had 12 points, eight rebounds and four blocks as Memphis won the third round of the Oakland Regional for its seventh straight victory.

Carney raised his arms in the air in celebration after a two-handed jam midway through the second half, one of several emphatic dunks by the 6-foot-7 forward who was virtually unknown when he first arrived at Memphis. Now, he is one win from finishing his stellar collegiate career in his hometown of Indianapolis for the Final Four.

Coach John Calipari's young Tigers (33-3), an NIT team last season, advanced to Saturday's regional final against second-seeded UCLA, a 73-71 comeback winner over third-seeded Gonzaga. The Tigers beat the Bruins earlier this season.

"We really guarded. We rebounded in the second half, and my stars were stars -- all three of them," Calipari said. "We're pretty good when that happens. ... Your senior better do his thing, and he's doing it."

Patrick O'Bryant had 11 of his 14 rebounds in the first half and only scored eight points for Bradley (22-11), which at No. 13 was the lowest seed still alive in the tournament. The Braves will return home to another hero's welcome after they turned the program into a household name and brought national attention to the town of Peoria, Ill., where they play.

"I think we put Bradley basketball back on the map," O'Bryant said.

The Braves had been the NCAA spoiler so far after beating Kansas and Pittsburgh to reach their first regional semifinal since 1955 when it was 24-team tournament, but they began the second half 4-for-16 and struggled to get open looks at the basket against speedy, aggressive Memphis.

The Tigers took Bradley right out of its preferred half-court offense.

"They wanted to run, and we run," Washington said. "That's Memphis basketball."

Bradley committed 14 first-half turnovers, then took better care of the ball after halftime but couldn't make shots. Coach Jim Les was whistled for a technical with 8:29 remaining for arguing, a sign of his team's frustration down the stretch.

After the Braves cut the lead to seven with 12:25 left, Williams hit a 3-pointer with the shot clock winding down to start a 7-0 Memphis run that also featured Carney's dazzling dunk.

"There's a reason why they're the (fourth)-ranked team in the country and a No. 1 seed," Les said. "We needed to play our 'A' game and we didn't play our 'A' game because of what they do and how they play."

The 7-foot O'Bryant faced two or three defenders almost every time he caught the ball in the paint. Marcellus Sommerville led Bradley with 18 points -- making nine of 10 free throws -- and eight rebounds and Lawrence Wright added 14 points.

Memphis forward Joey Dorsey picked up a technical, his seventh of the season, with 16:27 remaining after jawing with Wright. Dorsey's teammates were furious with his lack of composure and got in his face to let him know it. Sommerville hit both free throws to pull Bradley within 42-35.

The Tigers weren't about to let one guy bring them down. This postseason is redemption of sorts for this squad boasting four freshmen and three sophomore regulars.

A year ago, with Memphis down by two to Louisville in the Conference USA tournament championship game, Washington got fouled shooting a 3-pointer as the final buzzer sounded. Alone at the line, he had a chance to win the game by making all three free throws. He hit the first and missed the next two, then fell to the floor in heartbreak as the Tigers' NCAA hopes slipped away.

Bradley won nine of its final 11 games and captured the attention of the country at a school that last gained this much national exposure in men's basketball during the days of Hersey Hawkins.

Memphis, the Conference USA regular-season and tournament champion, led 35-30 at halftime and started the second half with a 7-0 spurt to take control for good.

Bradley missed five shots and committed three turnovers in its first seven possessions and fell behind 7-0 before taking a timeout at 17:45. O'Bryant finally got the Braves on the board with a putback at 16:27.

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.
John Calipari is one win away from returning to the Final Four.
John Calipari is one win away from returning to the Final Four. (Getty Images)
Related Links
Bradley #13303464
Memphis #1 «354580
BRAD:M. Sommerville 18 Pts
BRAD:P. O'Bryant 14 Reb
BRAD:D. Ruffin 4 Ast
MEM:R. Carney 23 Pts
MEM:J. Dorsey 11 Reb
MEM:A. Allen 5 Ast

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R. Carney
M. Sommerville
Bradley Braves
P. O'Bryant, C333-72-514028
D. Ruffin, G302-52-41437
M. Sommerville, F284-139-1080418
T. Bennett, G254-130-00059
J. Tauai, G200-02-41002
L. Wright, F285-134-460214
W. Franklin, G252-60-02216
Z. Andrews, F60-10-01010
J. Crouch, G20-10-00000
D. Adams, G10-00-00000
B. Heemskerk, C10-00-00000
R. Brown, G10-10-00000
S. Singh, F/CDid Not Play
S. Jassey, FDid Not Play
B. Lavin, GDid Not Play
Totals 20-6019-273361964
Memphis Tigers
R. Carney, F357-127-841223
S. Williams, G/F324-83-480312
J. Dorsey, F303-90-211336
D. Washington Jr., G288-141-231118
A. Anderson, G283-60-05128
A. Allen, G161-21-23533
C. Douglas-Roberts, G122-30-01004
K. Cooper, F/C81-20-02012
R. Dozier, F61-20-00032
J. Sandridge, G10-10-00000
C. McGrady, G10-00-00000
T. Long, G10-00-00000
W. Williams, F10-00-00000
C. Wade, G11-10-01002
A. Thiero, FDid Not Play
J. Hunt, GDid Not Play
S. Njoya, FDid Not Play
Totals 31-6012-1838111880
Missouri Valley
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Wichita St.17-131-532
Illinois St.17-128-733
So. Illinois9-917-16145
N. Iowa9-914-16162
Missouri St.7-1117-16209
Indiana St.5-1311-20233

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
LSU 62 Final
W Virg 71 Final
Texas 74
GONZ 71 Final