Memphis moves into Elite Eight with easy win over Bradley
Oakland, CA (Sports Network) – Rodney Carney poured in 23 points to lead
Memphis to an easy 80-64 win over Bradley in the Oakland Regional semifinals
of the NCAA Tournament.
“Basically we knew we had to rebound,” Carney said after the win. “Once we hit
the boards, that was a big difference in the game. We kicked it up. We got
Darius Washington added 18 points for top-seeded Memphis (33-3), which posted
a 94-78 triumph over 16th-seeded Oral Roberts in the first round of
the tourney, before taking down ninth-seeded Bucknell, 72-56, in second-
round action. Shawne Williams chipped in with 12 points and eight rebounds
while Antonio Anderson had eight points in the win.
“We really guarded,” said Memphis coach John Calipari. “We rebounded in the
second half, and my stars were stars, all three of them. We rebounded and my
three stars were stars. We’re pretty good what that happens.”
The Tigers have won 22 of their last 23 games en route to a school-record
33 victories. They also reached a regional final for the first time since 1992
and will move on to face the winner of the Gonzaga – UCLA tilt on Saturday.
Marcellus Sommerville netted 18 points for the 13th-seeded Braves (22-11), who
hadn’t made an NCAA Tournament appearance since 1996 and hadn’t won a game in
the tourney since 1986 before pulling off two of the biggest upsets in this
Bradley, the lowest seed remaining in the overall tourney, opened with a
shocking 77-73 victory over fourth-seeded Kansas before knocking off fifth-
seeded Pittsburgh, 72-66, in the second round.
“I thought they came out really aggressive,” said Sommerville. “They allowed
themselves to get easy buckets to start the game.”
Lawrence Wright added 14 points while Patrick O’Bryant had eight points and 14
rebounds in the loss.
The Braves were trying to continue their magical run but Memphis just had too
The Tigers used a 13-2 run that started in the final moments of the first half
and continued at the outset of the second stanza to gain control of the game.
Memphis finished the opening half with a 6-1 burst, fueled by an Anderson
three-pointer, to take a 35-30 edge into intermission.
The Tigers continued to pull away by scoring seven of the first eight points
in the second half. Carney capped the flurry with a triple and Memphis took
its first double-digit cushion, 42-31, less than two minutes into the stanza.
From there, Memphis continued to pull away. Washington’s driving layup with
around 11 1/2 minutes left extended the advantage to 14, 59-45.
Another Anderson triple, with 7:57 left, gave the Tigers a 17-point edge,
Bradley was unable to generate a run in the closing moments as Memphis cruised
toward the victory.
“We needed to play our A-game,” said Bradley coach Jim Les. “And I think we
didn’t play our A-game. The reason we didn’t was because of what they do and
how they play.”
The Tigers came out of the blocks flexing their muscles and scored the first
seven points of the game. After Williams opened the contest with a driving
layup, Washington followed with a lay-in of his own and then canned a three-
pointer to make the score 7-0 with less than four minutes gone.
Bradley finally calmed down and answered by embarking on a 13-4 run to take
its first lead. Tony Bennett’s leaning jump shot capped the spurt and made it
13-11 with a little over 12 minutes left in the half.
The two teams continued to trade buckets and found themselves deadlocked at 29
entering the waning moments of the frame.
Bradley shot just 33 percent in the game…Memphis was making its first
appearance in the regional semifinals since 1995…Bradley is now 12-8
all-time in the NCAA Tournament. Memphis is 22-18…Memphis leads the
all-time series between the two clubs, 10-9…Bradley advanced to
the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1955. The 51 years between the Braves’
appearances in the Sweet 16 is the longest in NCAA Tournament history.