New Orleans: Sorry about the technical problems, here's the write-up on the Memphis win over Nevada

By Eric Sorenson - March 18, 2007

Seven minutes.

That's what the game came down to. Because at just under the seven minute point of the second half, is when Memphis turned from Tigers to grave-diggers.

They buried any hopes of a comeback by Nevada, holding the Wolf Pack scoreless from the field in the last 6:59 of the game, en route to a 78-62 win.

But the real turning point came with the unfortunate turn of an ankle.

When Chris Douglas-Roberts, went down in a heap with a tweaked ankle with eight minutes left in the game, it could've been a turning point either way, good or bad. In fact, Nevada scored on the next two trips down the floor, cutting Memphis' lead to 64-62 with 6:17 remaining.

But then everything changed. The Tigers reared-up with a suffocating, active defense, holding the Pack toothless from that point on and leading to another Sweet 16 appearance for John Calipari's charges.

Were there any concerns over losing Chris Douglas-Roberts, the best player on the their roster?

"Oh yeah, He's our go-to guy." Said Antonio Anderson, who finished the game with 14 p;oints and 10 rebounds. "We had to do it more on the defensive end and making our free throws at the end."

Coach Calipari was extremely proud over the game-ending performance.

"When our leading scorer goes down and we come together as a team like this? Man, that's an emotional thing for a coach." said John Calipari afterward. "But I really liked our execution from that point on. Because we knew we could lose this thing. We turned our defense up a full notch and our concentration at the foul line was outstanding."

Oh yes, those free throws. If you remember, Memphis was the team that came into the tournament shooting just over 67%, causing Coach Calipari to inform the press corps that his team quit shooting them in practice and he had them just imagine 20 free throws going through the net after every practice.

And just how are those 20 "imaginary free throws" going to go this week?

"I'm hoping that we at least imagine fifteen or sixteen of them going through now." Much to the laugh of the post-game press conference.

For Nevada, Nick Fazekas went for what could be best described as a quiet 20 points, six of those on free throws and none coming from three-point range.

"We swarmed and switched and pressured them. We did not want Fazekas to go screen and pop. If you noticed, everytime he screened, we rotated another guy to guard him." Calipari said. "We played great defense. It was just phenomenal."

Nevada coach Mark Fox was left to grapple with no real answers. "Their length and athleticism wore us out. We couldn't get stops without fouling and their rebounding in the second half was huge. They were too long, athletic. That's just it. "

So now Calipari and crew head to San Antonio to face an equally-talented Texas A&M team in the round of 16. Coach Cal has to be wishing that seven minutes could turn into 40 minutes, don't you think? But the way this team is putting people away, they'll be sure to bring their tools from the mausoleum with them as well.

Posted by Eric Sorenson at 08:31 PM on March 18, 2007

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