Jan. 9, 2008
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Freshman Derrick Rose scored 19 points and No. 2 Memphis overcame a somewhat lackluster start Wednesday night to beat East Carolina 99-58 in the Conference USA opener for both teams.
Andre Allen and Robert Dozier added 13 points apiece for the Tigers (14-0, 1-0) with Dozier adding 10 rebounds. Chris Douglas-Roberts finished with 12 points as Memphis won its 41st straight home game and extended its overall conference winning streak to 24.
In the first half, Memphis hardly looked like the team picked to dominate C-USA, struggling from the field and allowing the Pirates (6-8, 0-1) to stay close. The Tigers wouldn't build their lead to double digits until the latter stages of the half.
Memphis finally got untracked after halftime, working the ball inside at first and then freeing up the outside for Allen, who connected on three of his four shots outside the arc.
The Tigers hit 13 of their first 18 shots in the second half to push the lead to 33 points and coasted home.
Things got so frustrating for East Carolina coach Mike McCarthy that he was whistled for two technicals by official Ed Hightower in a 30-second span of the second half and headed to the locker room with 12:15 remaining.
Memphis' final 41-point lead was its largest of the game, and the Tigers dominated in all aspects from rebounds (52-31) to a 44-22 lead in the paint. Memphis blocked 11 shots compared to five for East Carolina.
Memphis would shoot 59 percent from the field in the second half, including 7-of-12 from 3-point range.
Rose had 12 points in the half as Memphis led 43-29 despite the poor shooting. The Tigers, who shot better than 50 percent in the previous two games, managed only 33 percent from the field in the half, including missing five of their six shots outside the arc.
East Carolina wasn't shooting any better at 30 percent, but the difference was Memphis went to the free throw line 30 times, compared to 13 for the Pirates. The Tigers eventually finished 31-of-49 from the line.
But East Carolina managed to stay close through much of the first half, trailing only 29-25 with 5:50 left. From there, East Carolina was 1-for-7 in the final minutes, and Memphis outscored the Pirates 14-4, finally taking the lead to double digits with 3:41 remaining.