Oklahoma State forces Memphis to face music

59.6% field-goal shooting, pesky `D' lead way, 70-53

Ncaa Regional

East Rutherford

March 22, 2004|By John Jeansonne | John Jeansonne,NEWSDAY

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Oklahoma State showed Memphis to Graceland, all right. Making music on offense and defense, with basketball elegance and downright grit, Oklahoma State yesterday demonstrated the virtues required to proceed far into the NCAA tournament with a resounding 70-53 second-round victory.

"They were physical, mature, set unbelievable screens, fought through screens on the other end, rebounded like crazy," Memphis coach John Calipari said. And he didn't event mention that the Cowboys shot 68 percent from the field in the first half and 59.6 for the game.

Within eight minutes of the opening tip, Oklahoma State was ahead by double digits and had thrown such a spotlight on Memphis' weaknesses that the Tigers might have wanted one of those seven-second delays of live TV coverage - in hopes of editing out some of the embarrassment.

Junior forward Joey Graham, who had not played particularly well in Oklahoma State's first-round win over Eastern Washington, had 20 points by halftime (he finished with 21) by making all eight of his shots from the field that included three three-pointers.

"It was one of those nights when the rim felt like an ocean," Graham said. And his teammates merrily followed his example. Guard John Lucas (6-for-10) scored 13 and added five assists. Forward Ivan McFarlin (6-for-8) also scored 13 and took 10 rebounds. Guards Tony Allen (11) and Daniel Bobik (10) also scored in double figures.

Even when Oklahoma State (29-3) hit a lull midway through the second half, after topping out with a 27-point lead (54-27), the resulting 16-2 Memphis run still couldn't make the game close.

"I rate them one of the top three teams I've ever played," said Antonio Burks, Memphis' playground-like guard who was forced to carry his team with 22 points and four assists. "Probably No. 1. I pick them to win the NCAA title."

Memphis, its season done at 22-8, had hopes of using its primary offensive weapon - the three-point shot - and defensive pressure to control Oklahoma State. Forward Rodney Carney, after all, had made all six of his three-point attempts in the first half of Memphis' first-round win over South Carolina.

But Oklahoma State permitted Carney only one three-point attempt in the first half - he missed - by virtually surrounding him with Allen's smothering defense.

Allen "did an unbelievable job on," Oklahoma State coach Eddie Sutton said. "We feel if we put some strong defense on somebody right from the beginning, it kind of kills some of their initiative."

That left Oklahoma State, here in the city where the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barber Shop Quartet Singing in America was formed, free to make its beautiful harmony.

Newsday is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.

MEMPHIS-Carney 2-8 3-3 8, Banks 3-11 3-7 11, Barclay 0-0 0-0 0, Burks 9-19 1-4 22, Rice 2-8 0-0 4, Avery 0-0 0-0 0, Erwin 1-1 0-0 2, Lopez 0-0 0-0 0, Diarra 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 20-50 7-14 53.

OKLAHOMA STATE-J.Graham 8-11 2-6 21, Lucas 6-10 0-0 13, Bobik 3-5 3-4 10, S.Graham 0-0 0-0 0, McFarlin 6-8 1-2 13, Allen 4-9 3-5 11, Weatherspoon 1-3 0-0 2, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Crawford 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-47 9-17 70.

Half: Oklahoma State 41-19. 3-point goals-Memphis 6-17 (Burks 3-5, Banks 2-4, Carney 1-5, Rice 0-3), Oklahoma State 5-12 (J.Graham 3-5, Bobik 1-2, Lucas 1-4, Allen 0-1). Fouled out-None. Rebounds-Memphis 22 (Banks, Carney 5), Oklahoma State 35 (McFarlin 10). Assists-Memphis 9 (Burks 4), Oklahoma State 18 (Lucas 5). Total fouls-Memphis 15, Oklahoma State 16. A-17,667.

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