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C-USA Tournament roundup

Dean's 3-pointer lifts Louisville over Memphis 78-75

Posted: Friday March 14, 2003 8:02 PM
Updated: Saturday March 15, 2003 2:09 AM

 
Friday's action
Rick Pitino
Rick Pitino's squad has won four of five. AP

Friday's Other Games
UAB 63, Saint Louis 62

Thursday's Games
UAB tops top-seeded Marquette

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Louisville's chances of reaching the Conference USA tournament championship fell to two freshmen and a last-minute addition to the starting lineup.

All three delivered in the Cardinals' 78-75 win over Memphis on Friday night.

Freshman Taquan Dean sank a 3-pointer with 11.1 seconds left -- his only field goal of the game -- and freshman Francisco Garcia and Marvin Stone each scored 15 points as Louisville advanced to the championship for the second time.

The No. 20 Cardinals (23-6) will play Alabama-Birmingham (19-11), which defeated Saint Louis 63-62 in Friday's late semifinal. Eric Bush's driving layup with 11.9 seconds left was the game-winner.

In the early game, Dean finished 1-for-8 from the field, but Louisville head coach Rick Pitino kept encouraging him as the game progressed.

"I hit that shot for Coach," Dean said. "He gives me the confidence. Even though I was 1-for-8, I knew I still had one in me. If it was an open shot, he told me to shoot it. So, I shot it."

Earlier Friday, Louisville cleared the 6-foot-10 Stone to play as the NCAA continues investigating whether he accepted illegal benefits earlier in his career.

UL's Stone plays
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Louisville center Marvin Stone was cleared to play Friday and back in the starting lineup as the Cardinals played Memphis in the Conference USA tournament semifinals.

The 6-foot-10 senior missed three of Louisville's last four games as the NCAA investigated whether Stone accepted illegal
benefits during his high school and college career.

Stone was benched just hours before Louisville's 82-66 win over Tulane in the tournament quarterfinals Thursday.

The school's decision to let Stone play came an hour before the No. 20 Cardinals (22-6) tipped off against the No. 16 Tigers
(23-5).

Stone started and scored 15 points in Louisville's 78-75 victory.

Stone was a key to shutting down Chris Massie, Memphis' 6-foot-10 center. Massie missed all five of his shots and did not
score.

The NCAA urged the school to bench Stone from the start of its probe, which has dragged into its fourth week. If Stone played and
then was found to have committed NCAA violations, Louisville could be subject to sanctions, athletic director Tom Jurich said.

Stone's status for the rest of Louisville's season remained uncertain, but Jurich said he felt comfortable allowing Stone to play "the rest of the way." 
 
 

Stone was a key to shutting down Memphis center Chris Massie, who missed all five of his shots and was held scoreless for the first time this season.

Massie was averaging 17.6 points.

"We played great low-post defense. It was a team effort defensively," Pitino said. "All five guys were part of a string moving together."

Dean's shot from the wing over Rodney Carney gave the Cardinals a 76-75 lead. Memphis guard Billy Richmond missed a one-handed baseline shot at the other end and Louisville's Luke Whitehead rebounded and was fouled.

Whitehead sank two free throws with 4.3 seconds left. The 6-foot-7 junior finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds, his third straight double-double.

Whitehead's rebounding has been crucial since the loss of leading rebounder Ellis Myles to a knee injury on Feb. 27.

"I told Luke, 'If you don't rebound the ball, you can't play for us at Louisville,'" Pitino said. "That was three games ago, and since then, he's been a rebounding demon."

The Tigers called timeout after Whitehead's free throws. Memphis point guard Antonio Burks missed a 3-point attempt off the back of the rim as time expired. The loss snapped the Tigers' 12-game winning streak.

John Grice went 6-for-10 from 3-point range and scored a career-high 29 to lead Memphis (23-6).

The Cardinals led by nine at halftime, but Grice sank three 3-pointers in the first nine minutes of the second half as Memphis chipped away at the lead.

Many of Grice's 3-pointers came from several feet behind the line.

"He was shooting them from way out there," said Whitehead, who guarded Grice much of the game. "Some of the shots he was taking, I was right in his face. Coach Pitino told me not to worry about it -- that it was good defense."

Louisville led 65-63 when leading scorer Reece Gaines fouled out with 4:13 left. Gaines finished with 10 points.

Burks gave Memphis its first lead of the second half, at 71-70, with a midcourt steal and layup with 1:29 to go.

Grice sank two free throws with 32.7 seconds left to put Memphis up 74-71. Garcia answered with two free throws nine seconds later.

Burks made a free throw, but missed the second and Louisville moved the ball to Dean on the right wing for the go-ahead shot.

"They made an unbelievable shot," Calipari said. "That had to be a fun game to watch. That certainly was not fun to be on the end we're on."

In the later game, Bush and Gabe Kennedy each scored 16 points for UAB, which has won three in a row in the tournament since finishing the regular season with three straight losses.

"Somebody forgot to tell us we're supposed to be here, and I think that's good," UAB coach Mike Anderson said. "We had a rough stretch at the end of our season, but it's a new season."

Marque Perry had 20 points and six turnovers for Saint Louis (16-13), which had an eight-game winning streak snapped.

Perry failed on two chances to win the game. He missed a drive with three seconds left and Kennedy rebounded. The Billikens tied up Kennedy, forcing a jump ball.

Saint Louis got the ball on the alternating possession, but Perry couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

The Billikens will have to sweat out whether they'll receive an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament on Sunday.

"I wasn't thinking about that," said Saint Louis head coach Brad Soderberg. "Certainly, a win would've helped out. But considering we were 8-12 a month ago and to finish the way we did down the stretch is a great credit to our kids."

UAB 63, Saint Louis 62

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) -- Eric Bush scored on a driving layup with 11.9 seconds left to lift Alabama-Birmingham to a 63-62 win over Saint Louis in the Conference USA tournament semifinals Friday night.

The ninth-seeded Blazers (19-11) will play third-seeded and 20th-ranked Louisville (23-6) in Saturday's tournament championship. The Cardinals beat No. 16 Memphis 78-75 earlier Friday.

Bush and Gabe Kennedy each scored 16 points for UAB (19-11), which has won three in a row in the tournament since finishing the regular season with three straight losses.

Marque Perry had 20 points and six turnovers for Saint Louis (16-13), which had an eight-game winning streak snapped.

Perry failed on two chances to win the game. He missed a drive with 3 seconds left and Kennedy rebounded. The Billikens tied up Kennedy, forcing a jump ball.

Saint Louis got the ball on the alternating possession, but Perry couldn't get a shot off before the buzzer sounded.

The Blazers led 34-18 at halftime and 44-22 early in the second half as Saint Louis struggled to handle UAB's pressure defense.

The Billikens then mounted an 18-4 run as UAB began to show fatigue from playing three games in three nights.

Bush hit a jumper with 10:37 left, but the Billikens continued to close the gap. Perry's drive with 1:23 left forged a 61-61 tie -- the first since the game started.

Chris Sloan gave Saint Louis its only lead with a free throw with 23 seconds left.

The Blazers started with an 11-3 run fueled by three Saint Louis turnovers. UAB forced a tournament-record 20 steals in an 83-76 upset of eighth-ranked Marquette on Thursday.

The Billikens finished the first half 8-of-23 from the field (35 percent) and had nine turnovers.

 
Related information
Stories
Louisville's Stone cleared to play
UAB flusters Wade, upsets Marquette in C-USA
Stats
Louisville-Memphis Box Score
UAB-St. Louis Box Score
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