Indiana Daily Student

Derrick Rose puts on dazzling show, leads Memphis past UCLA into national title game

Memphis' Derrick Rose goes up for a shot over UCLA's Josh Shipp (3) during the first half of a semifinals game of the Final Four Saturday in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
Memphis' Derrick Rose goes up for a shot over UCLA's Josh Shipp (3) during the first half of a semifinals game of the Final Four Saturday in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

As hard as it is to imagine, Memphis keeps getting better just when it matters the most.\nThe Tigers claimed their piece of history Saturday, beating UCLA 78-63 in the NCAA men’s semifinals to become, at 38-1, the winningest team ever in a single season. Now they have a chance to do what the other 37-win teams – Duke, Illinois and UNLV – couldn’t do: cap it off with a national championship.\nWith Derrick Rose and Chris Douglas-Roberts taking turns at basketball acrobatics, it’s certainly imaginable. And the Bruins certainly wouldn’t doubt it.\n“Going into the game, we knew that we was going to win. Ain’t too much to say,” Rose said. “We’re just a great team. With the team that we have, it’s hard beating us.”\nCoach John Calipari claimed his Tigers weren’t aware they had set a record for most wins in major college basketball.\n“My team’s like, ‘Is it? That’s the most wins?’” Calipari said. “And then I told them, ‘No, no. You’ve got to get to 39 to have the most wins.’ Hopefully we’ll have one more in us.”\nThe Tigers will get their chance Monday night against Kansas.\nAll season, this Memphis team from lightly regarded Conference USA played along with Calipari’s us-against-the-world theme. Now, the Tigers need only one more victory for their first championship.\nUCLA star Kevin Love put on his own show at practice Friday, hitting a full-court shot. He managed just 12 points – and missed both open 3-pointers – as the Bruins (35-4) again fell short in their third straight Final Four appearance.\n“As disappointing as this loss is, it’s hard to be here three years in a row and not come away with a championship,” coach Ben Howland said. “There’s a reason why they’ve only lost one game and they’ve won 38. They’re a very, very good team.”\nRose and Douglas-Roberts, especially.\nRose finished with 25 points and nine rebounds and a bunch of eye-opening moves that won’t show up in the final box.\n“Every once in a while, I go, ‘Oh my’ and I kind of sit down,” Calipari said. “And they usually come at inopportune times for the other team.”\nRose also hit 11 of 12 free throws. For a team supposedly vulnerable from the foul line, the Tigers did great in making 20 of 23.\nHe fittingly wound up with the ball in the final seconds and heaved it high. Only then did he crack the slightest of smiles.\nDouglas-Roberts played like an All-American, scoring 28 points and Joey Dorsey had the most peculiar line of all – zero points, but 15 big rebounds in keeping Love out of the middle.\n“It’s great, it’s great,” Douglas-Roberts said. “We all believe in each other and we expect great things to happen, so this isn’t new to us.”\nFour other teams had won 37 times in a season – Illinois in 2005, UNLV in 1987 and Duke in 1999 and 1986 – but all lost in the end.\nMemphis has won its five games in this NCAA Tournament by an average of nearly 16 points. The Tigers got off to a slower start this time, falling behind 5-0, before their suddenly chic “dribble drive motion” offense took over.\nMemphis led 50-45 with 13 and a half minutes left before pulling away. Rose made a couple of nifty passes, Dorsey came up with a monster block and later playfully popped Douglas-Roberts on the shoulder after a slam.\nThis was certainly no repeat of 1973, when the Tigers – then known as Memphis State – got routed 87-66 by UCLA in the title game.\nThe Tigers spent the whole season aiming at getting back to San Antonio. They lost to Ohio State on this same court last March in the regional final and adopted “Remember the Alamodome” as their motto this season.\nIn the first Final Four to feature four No. 1 seeds, Rose and Memphis cruised while Love could do little to stop them.\n“At this stage, I feel like Memphis is definitely the best team we’ve played,” Love said.

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