Washington helps Memphis upset Cards

Memphis freshman point guard Darius Washington scored 25 points and gave coach John Calipari his 300th victory in the Tigers' 85-68 win over No. 9 Louisville on Wednesday.

A milestone win for coach John Calipari could be a turning point to Memphis' tumultuous season.

Freshman point guard Darius Washington scored 25 points and Calipari earned his 300th victory in the Tigers' 85-68 win over No. 9 Louisville on Wednesday.

``I'm calm now,'' said Calipari, who turns 46 on Thursday. ``But when I get near the plane, I'm going to do some back-flips up the steps. I'm so happy.''

Rodney Carney added 24 points and Anthony Rice had 15 -- all in the second half -- for the Tigers (14-10, 7-3 Conference USA), who beat a Top 25 team on the road for the first time in five tries this season and snapped Louisville's nine-game winning streak.

``We played hard, we scrambled and we played hard on defense,'' Calipari said. ``But it was our day.''

Calipari has a 300-120 record in 13 seasons at Massachusetts and Memphis.

Taquan Dean and Ellis Myles each scored 17 points for Louisville (20-4, 8-2), which suffered its worst home loss in four seasons under Coach Rick Pitino.

A frustrated Pitino kept his players away from the media afterward.

``Our locker room is closed,'' he said. ``I don't think they are worthy of speaking to you.''

Louisville was leading the nation in margin of victory coming into the game (+23), but Pitino has been saying for weeks that the Cardinals have plenty of improvements to make.

The Tigers exposed many of their flaws, outrebounding Louisville 41-30 and holding the nation's fourth-best offense to 33 percent shooting (19-of-58), a season low.

``I knew it was coming,'' Pitino said, ``I just didn't think it would be this bad.''

The Cardinals rank second in the nation in field goal percentage defense, but the Tigers' defense took control early, triggering a 16-5 opening run by holding the Cardinals without a point for more than 9 minutes.

Louisville, averaging 85 points per game, missed seven straight shots and committed five turnovers during the drought. At the end of one sloppy possession, Myles threw up just the ninth 3-point attempt of his career, missing it badly.

``The first 10 shots we took were terrible shots,'' Pitino said.

The Tigers, meanwhile, committed only one turnover in the first 12 minutes after coughing up a season-high 26 in a loss to Houston last Saturday.

Much of that was due to Washington, who repeatedly glided through the Cardinals' full-court pressure for layups.

``I was breaking the press, getting in the middle,'' said Washington, who had five assists and five rebounds. ``I was taking it and they just fell.''

Myles made two free throws with 7:47 left in the half to end Louisville's scoreless stretch. He had a layup and zipped an assist to Francisco Garcia to trim Memphis' lead to 16-11.

Carney then hit two 3-pointers during a 10-2 run that muted the capacity crowd. He and Washington scored 28 of the Tigers' 34 first-half points. The Cardinals mustered only 22 first-half points after missing 15 of 20 shots.

Louisville continued to sputter in the second half, missing 10 of its first 13 shots.

Rice hit a 3-pointer with 16:49 left to launch a decisive 16-2 run. Garcia hit a free throw with 11:05 left, but Rice made a 3-pointer to push the lead to 57-31, the Tigers' biggest to that point.

``I was shocked,'' Washington said. ``We got them down and we kept them down.''

Dean hit a 3-pointer with 7 minutes left as Louisville's defense finally started generating turnovers and easy baskets.

A layup by Myles with 5:12 to go trimmed Louisville's deficit to 66-49, but Rice made four free throws over the next minute as the Tigers pushed the lead back over 20.

The victory was a much-needed confidence boost for a team that's dealt with its share of adversity. Last month, guard Jeremy Hunt was briefly suspended after he was charged with assaulting his ex-girlfriend and forward Sean Banks was ruled ineligible because of poor grades.

``It helps us a lot to beat Top 25 team,'' Carney said. ``Not a lot of teams come in here and win.''

Louisville had a 10-game home-court winning streak snapped and matched its worst defeat at Freedom Hall since a 74-57 loss to UAB on Feb. 28, 2001, former coach Denny Crum's final regular-season home game.

Garcia, Louisville's leading scorer, went 1-for-8 and scored seven points.


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