|Memphis fouls up its big chance to win title, missed free throws lead to 75-68 loss to Kansas|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 07 April 2008 18:21|
That was the awful sound of Memphis letting the NCAA championship game rattle away at the foul line Monday night.
Too bad for the Tigers, they lived up to their reputation at the end - a wonderful team that simply couldn't hit big free throws.
Given a chance to put away Kansas, stars Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose made just 1-of-5 foul shots in the final 1:12 of regulation. And by the time Douglas-Roberts regained his touch in overtime, it was too late to prevent a 75-68 overtime loss.
All season long, as Rose and Douglas-Roberts dazzled with an assortment of trick shots, doubters said the Tigers' inability to make a simple, 15-foot shot while standing still would cost them. Memphis made under 60 percent during the regular season, third-worst in Division I.
Coach John Calipari always laughed at that notion, claiming the Tigers would make them when it counted. Throughout the first five games of the NCAA tournament, he was right - in fact, Rose and Douglas-Roberts combined to hit 20 of 23 in the semifinal romp over UCLA.
But then, with the championship trophy in sight, it all turned foul for the Tigers.
Ahead 62-58, Douglas-Roberts clanked the first shot of a one-and-one. The All-American guard got another try with 16 seconds and missed twice, still leaving Memphis with a 62-60 edge.
Rose, the sensational freshmen most likely headed to the NBA, could've put it away when he went to the line with 10 seconds left and that same 62-60 lead. Hit twice, and it's probably over.
Instead, after playing so poised during a second-half rally, he suddenly looked like a true freshman when his first shot rattled in and out. He made the next one, but that gave Kansas enough room so that Mario Chalmers' wild 3-pointer just before the buzzer sent it to overtime.
Douglas-Roberts later made two free throws, and it was little consolation by then. The Jayhawks were on their way.
Memphis finished a rickety 12-for-19 on free throws. Along with all the things Kansas did right, its foul shooting was perhaps the deciding factor - at 14-for-15, the Jayhawks showed their stripes.