Thursday , Mar , 09 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Tigers take on Green Wave in C-USA quarterfinals

=== Tigers take on Green Wave in C-USA quarterfinals ===

(Sports Network) – The top-seeded and fifth-ranked Memphis Tigers begin their
quest for their first-ever Conference USA Tournament title tonight, when
they host the eighth-seeded Tulane Green Wave in the quarterfinal round
from the FedExForum. The winner of tonight’s contest will take on either UCF
or Houston in the semifinals on Friday. The Tigers were clearly the cream
of the crop C-USA this year, as they tore through the conference and
finished the regular season with a league-best mark of 13-1. Memphis
also fared well against a tough non-conference schedule (14-2) and because
of that the team has been ranked in the top-five for several months now.
Overall, the Tigers stand at an impressive 27-3, which includes a 16-1
record at the FedExForum. In terms of its history in this event, Memphis
owns a 7-10 all-time record, with its lone appearance in a championship game
coming last season. The Tigers lost that contest to Louisville, 75-74, in
heart-breaking fashion and were left out the NCAA Tournament.

As for Tulane, it finished in eighth-place in the regular season standings
at 6-8 and had to play an opening round game. In that game, the Green Wave
held off ninth-seeded Marshall for a 64-58 triumph on Wednesday. The win
improved the team to 12-16 overall and 4-10 all-time in this event. With
regard to the all-time series between these two schools, Memphis owns a
commanding 33-9 advantage, and the Tigers have won the last 10 meetings,
including a 105-65 triumph earlier this season.

The Green Wave forced 20 turnovers in which they scored 22 points from in a
six-point victory over Marshall in the tournament on Wednesday. The team also
dominated play down low, outscoring Marshall in the paint, 44-20. David Gomez
led the way for Tulane with a double-double that consisted of 21 points and 10
rebounds. Quincy Davis also got into the mix, as he posted 17 points and six
rebounds in the victory. On the year, Davis leads the team in both scoring
(12.9 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 rpg), and is also shooting 58.1 percent from
the field. Gomez has provided a nice complement to him and is putting forth
12.2 ppg and 4.7 rpg. As a team, Tulane is averaging 63.4 ppg this season,
while holding its opponents to 66.0 ppg.

Memphis has been dominant in nearly every phase of the game this season and
enters the postseason averaging a league-best 82.3 ppg on 45.2 percent
shooting from the floor. The team has also clamped down on defense, holding
its opponents to a mere 38.4 percent shooting from the floor, in addition to
forcing them into 17.9 turnovers per game. Another area the Tigers have
excelled in is on the glass, where they are grabbing 7.2 rpg more than their
foes. Rodney Carney was recently named the C-USA Player of the Year after
averaging 17.9 ppg during the regular season. He is also collecting 4.4 rpg
and shooting 39.8 percent from behind the arc. Darius Washington, who missed a
pair of free throws in the final moments of last year’s C-USA Tournament
championship game that cost the Tigers dearly, ranks second on the team with
13.9 ppg. Carney wasn’t the only player to earn an award for Memphis recently,
as Shawne Williams was dubbed the 2006 C-USA Freshman of the Year. Williams is
averaging 13.0 ppg and 6.3 rpg this season and also has 41 steals to his name.