|Tennessee and Memphis win to set up No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 21 February 2008 01:07|
Top-ranked Memphis and No. 2 Tennessee both won Wednesday night, setting up a showdown between the teams Saturday. It will be the first 1-2 meeting since No. 2 Ohio State beat No. 1 Wisconsin 49-48 last Feb. 25.
``It's step up time now,'' said Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl, who refused to talk about the game earlier in the week, instead insisting the Auburn Tigers were the more important Tigers.
``Everybody's going to be challenged.''
The Vols (24-2, 11-1 Southeastern Conference) easily dispatched Auburn (13-11, 3-8) on Wednesday night, winning 89-70.
Saturday's matchup will be just the fifth time that a 1-2 meeting will be with teams from the same state. Cincinnati and Ohio State locked up twice in the 1960s and Duke and North Carolina met twice in the 1990s.
``We've got a good one ahead of us,'' said Chris Douglas-Roberts, who had 29 points in Memphis' 97-71 win over Tulane. ``We're evenly matched, it's going to be a good one.''
Last year, Memphis lost to Tennessee in Knoxville, Tenn., 76-58. This year the game will be on the Tigers' home court.
``We're playing the most talented team we've ever played in our building,'' said Memphis coach John Calipari, who won his 400th game Wednesday night.
Ramar Smith scored a season-high 19 points, Tyler Smith added 13 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and JaJuan Smith and Chris Lofton both had 12 points for the Vols, who extended their home winning streak to 30 games.
Ramar Smith acknowledged that Auburn was an important stepping stone before facing Memphis.
``We have to get better every game and that's what we did tonight,'' he said.
The Tigers outrebounded the Vols 23-20 in the first half, but couldn't find a way to take advantage of it with 22-percent shooting from the field.
Frank Tolbert led Auburn with 24 points and tied a career high with 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season.
In other top 25 games Wednesday night, it was: Miami 96, No. 5 Duke 95; No. 3 North Carolina 84, North Carolina State 70; No. 8 Butler 51, Illinois-Chicago 46; No. 11 Wisconsin 71, Illinois 57; No. 19 Michigan State 86, Penn State 49; Nebraska 71, No. 24 Kansas State 64; and No. 25 Marquette 73, St. John's 64.
Memphis (26-0, 12-0 Conference USA) had already shaken off one scare, a one-point victory over UAB, and did not want another. And Tulane (15-10, 5-6) did not threaten the Tigers much.
Memphis was ahead 46-27 at halftime, and never allowed the Greenies to get closer than 17 after that. Johnny Mayhane's 3-pointer with 13:01 left in the game cut Memphis' lead to 60-43, but the Tigers quickly rebuilt it.
Miami 96, No. 5 Duke 95
At Coral Gables, Fla., The Miami Hurricanes beat Duke for the first time in 45 years, scoring 15 consecutive points to build a big lead early in the second half and holding on to win.
Ranked No. 2 just last week, the Blue Devils (22-3 overall, 10-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) lost for the second time in four days.
Miami (18-7, 5-6) beat Duke for the first time since the first game in the series Dec. 21, 1962. The Blue Devils had won all 10 games since.
No. 3 North Carolina 84, North Carolina State 70
At Raleigh, N.C., Tyler Hansbrough had 32 points - including 16 during the decisive 11-minute run - to help North Carolina beat rival North Carolina State.
Wayne Ellington added 21 points for the Tar Heels (25-2, 10-2 ACC), who led by 20 points to easily avenge last year's stunning loss here despite playing yet again without injured point guard Ty Lawson.
Gavin Grant scored 17 points to lead N.C. State (15-11, 4-8).
No. 8 Butler 51, Illinois-Chicago 46
At Chicago, A.J. Graves scored 14 points, including the go-ahead three-pointer in the final minute, and Butler closed in on the top seed in the Horizon League Tournament.
The win was the ninth straight for the Bulldogs' (25-2, 14-2) and their 54th since the start of last season, giving them the best two-year win total in conference history.
Josh Mayo led Illinois-Chicago (14-13, 8-8) with 15 points.
No. 11 Wisconsin 71, Illinois 57
Trevon Hughes scored 18 points and Marcus Landry added 17 to help Wisconsin beat host Illinois and move into a first-place tie in the Big Ten.
The Badgers (22-4, 12-2) moved into a tie with Purdue atop the conference. Purdue was idle after losing to Indiana on Tuesday night.
The loss guarantees the Illini (11-16, 3-11) their first losing season since 1999.
Demetri McCamey scored all 18 of his points in the second half to lead the Illini. Shaun Pruitt added 16 points.
No. 19 Michigan State 86, Penn State 49
Raymar Morgan scored 16 points and Michigan State remained unbeaten at home with a victory over Penn State.
The Spartans (21-5, 9-4 Big Ten) were coming off back-to-back road losses which likely knocked them out of the conference championship chase.
Stanley Pringle had 12 points for the Nittany Lions (12-13, 4-9).
Nebraska 71, No. 24 Kansas State 64
Steve Harley scored a career-high 20 points and Nebraska (15-9, 4-7 Big 12) kept Michael Beasley in check and held Kansas State scoreless on its last eight possessions.
Kansas State (18-7, 8-3), which would have moved into a three-way tie for the conference lead with a win, pulled to 65-64 on Blake Young's 3-pointer with 4:46 left. The Wildcats wouldn't score again ended up losing their third straight on the road.
No. 25 Marquette 73, St. John's 64
At New York, Jerel McNeal had 20 points and seven rebounds to lead Marquette over St. John's.
Marquette (19-6, 9-5 Big East) took control of the game with its trademark defense, getting eight steals in forcing 16 first-half turnovers on the way to a 36-24 lead.
The Red Storm (10-15, 4-10) then showed a rare offensive spark, going on a 14-2 run that made it 61-50 on a free throw by Eugene Lawrence with 6:31 left.
Anthony Mason Jr. had 20 points for St. John's.