But ultimately talent won out and Memphis left town with a 79 – 69 victory. Memphis improved to 9-0 for the first time since 1985-86, when the Tigers won their first 20 games, a school record.
Early on it looked like the Tigers would romp, but the Bearcats had the right game plan with a zone defense that lulled Memphis into living with three point shots. On offense UC attacked in the paint, the result was 16 points from close range and some foul trouble for Memphis. The Bearcat ended the first half with a 15 – 4 run to give them a fighting chance in the second half.
Memphis showed why they are number 2 in the nation by quickly getting the lead back to double digits after intermission. But UC never quit and kept the game close until the end. Free throw shooting or lack of it would cost the Bearcats a shot at the upset.
Defensively UC was able to keep Memphis big man Joey Dorsey, who fouled out with 8 points and 7 rebounds, from having a big night and was frustrated into a second half technical foul. The Tiger star, Chris Douglas-Roberts was mostly invisible the entire night. But the depth of Memphis is such that freshmen Derrick Rose led the way with 26 points. For the night Memphis nailed 12 shots form 3 point range.
UC center, Adam Hrycaniuk put in 13 points and 5 rebounds but continues to play timid at the rim. Once again he missed layups and went up soft when he could have taken control at the basket. At 6-10, 230 pounds a Bearcat big man needs to be a lot tougher than Adam is right now.
On the upside Deonta Vaughn came out in the second half and showed he is a leader finishing with 20 points for the night. Vaughn's 3-pointer cut it to 68-62 with 3:50 to go, but after a defensive stop John Williamson missed a dunk that could have increased the pressure on Memphis. When Memphis converted on the offensive end the game was essentially over at that point.
Big defensive plays by Alvin Mitchell, Rashad Bishop, Darnell Wilks helped keep the Bearcats in the game. The freshmen will make plenty of mental mistakes, but watching their development has been the only real pleasure in this season thus far. If that wasn't' enough John Calipari said "what is going on here is unbelievable with all the development. Mick is doing it right, he just needs time and this program will be back on top."
The Bearcats will be back in action on December 23rd with a visit to Raleigh, North Carolina to take on the NC State Wolfpack.
Bearcats fall to #2 Memphis
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