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January 11, 2007

No. 20 Memphis uses defense to beat Houston

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HOUSTON -Chris Douglas-Roberts scored 16 points, Joey Dorsey grabbed 10 rebounds and blocked three shots, and No. 20 Memphis beat Houston 79-69 on Thursday night.

Jeremy Hunt added 14 points, and Robert Dozier had 12 points and three blocks for the Tigers (12-3, 2-0 Conference USA), who've won four in a row and six of their last seven.

Memphis is Conference USA's top-scoring team, but the Tigers beat the Cougars with their defense as much as their offense, holding Houston to 43 percent shooting (26-of-60).

Memphis also dominated inside, outrebounding the Cougars 35-26 and scoring 40 in the paint, to win its first true road game of the season. The Tigers lost at Arizona and Tennessee in December.

Robert McKiver scored 27 points, but only 10 in the second half, to lead the Cougars (5-8, 0-1), who've lost five in a row and six of their last seven.

Memphis built an early nine-point lead with a 9-0 spurt, fueled by Houston miscues. Dozier finished a fast break with a layup and Hunt sank a 3-pointer, both off Cougars' turnovers, to put Memphis up 14-5.

The Tigers led 20-13 when Jahmar Thorpe rebounded a 3-point miss by McKiver with one hand and dunked it to trigger an 8-2 spurt. McKiver swished a pair of 3-pointers to cut the Tigers' lead to 22-21.

Houston trailed by three when Memphis mounted a 13-3 burst to push the lead into double digits. Douglas-Roberts converted a three-point play after another Houston turnover and Antonio Anderson hit a 3-pointer to give the Tigers a 39-26 lead.

Memphis led 47-33 at the break after hitting 18 of 28 shots (64 percent). The Tigers dominated inside at both ends in the half, outrebounding Houston 19-14, blocking four shots and scoring 24 points in the paint.

McKiver was 6-of-10, with five 3-pointers, and had 17 points at the break. The rest of the team missed 14 of 19 shots in the opening half.

McKiver swished a 3-pointer from the top of the key 20 seconds into the second half and Thorpe scored inside to draw the Cougars to within nine. Andre Allen answered with a 3-pointer and Dozier muscled in for a bank shot to stretch the lead to 15.

Hunt hit a 3-pointer after Joey Dorsey grabbed an offensive rebound and Allen turned a steal into a breakaway layup to extend the lead to 59-40 by the 14-minute mark.

The Tigers stayed comfortably ahead the rest of the way, controlling the boards and finally pinning down McKiver, who missed five of eight shots in the second half.

Thorpe added 14 points for the Cougars.

For more coverage of Memphis, visit TigerSportsReport.com; for more on Houston, visit CougarsDen.com.

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