Center Randolph Morris and guard Joe Crawford were largely responsible for keeping the Cats within shouting distance throughout the first 30 minutes of the game. Morris finished with 18 points and Joe Crawford had 15. But Kentucky's big man began to wear down as the lead widened. "They were putting some big guys on him," Kentucky coach Tubby Smith said of Morris, who admitted he was worn down some after playing in his third game in as many days and his fifth in eight days.
"That had an effect on me. We hit the wall so to speak in the second half," Morris said. "They showed what they wanted to do and rotated big men on me."
"We're walking out of here with a `What happened for 20 minutes?"' Memphis coach John Calipari said. He was describing the second half of a 92-85 semifinal loss to No. 19 Georgia Tech, a game in which the Tigers blew a 16-point halftime lead.
"Maybe we just went brain dead and I'm not taking anything away from Georgia Tech," he said. "But I'll tell you, as disappointed as I was after that second half in our lack of physical play, and after I watched the tape I was even sicker, I'm as proud today. This is a hard game to play with both teams down a little bit after hard losses."
"There are no excuses but we were tired," Smith said. "We'll get better. We have a lot of things to do to get better."
This was the first-ever meeting between the schools.