- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 14, 2009

MEMPHIS, TENN. (AP) - Tyreke Evans scored 18 points and Robert Dozier added 18 points and 14 rebounds Saturday, leading No. 4 Memphis past Tulsa 64-39 for its fourth straight Conference USA tournament title.

The Tigers (31-3) extended the nation’s longest winning streak to 25 and won their 61st straight league game. Memphis, last year’s national runner-up, hasn’t lost since Dec. 20 to Syracuse.

Fans started chanting “No. 1 seed, No. 1 seed” in the final minutes.

Antonio Anderson added 12 points and Doneal Mack had 11 for Memphis, which padded its NCAA record of wins during this four-year run to 135.

The Tigers ended a seven-game wining streak for Tulsa (24-10). The Golden Hurricane was led by reserve Glenn Andrews with 13 points.

Tulsa hoped to have a better chance at Memphis in this rematch of last year’s game, which the Tigers won 77-51. The Golden Hurricane gave Memphis its toughest game in league play this season, a 55-54 Tigers’ win in Tulsa on Jan. 13.

But Tulsa never got closer than 3 after the opening minutes. Memphis scored the first eight points, never trailed and led by as much as 28 in securing what could be the league’s lone NCAA berth.

Evans, the tournament MVP, helped put away the game as he scored the first nine points of a 12-0 run. He had the last four of the first half and opened the second with a driving underhand layup, then hit a 3 from the right corner.

Even when the Tigers messed up, they still salvaged a play. Andrews nearly got a steal in the second half only to see Evans scramble to get it back. He was on the floor when he tossed the ball to Anderson who passed to Dozier for a thundering dunk and a 52-30 lead with 7:58 left.

The Tigers held Tulsa’s leading scorers to a combined 7-of-28. Jerome Jordan had four points, Ben Uzoh seven on 3-of-11 shooting and Ray Reese six. The Golden Hurricane missed 13 of their first 15 shots and went scoreless for 6 1/2 minutes of the second half.

At times, both teams looked as if it was a little early for basketball, with a morning tip-off that produced long concession lines at the coffee stands.

Jordan finally got the Golden Hurricane going by driving for a layup, then dunking just as Memphis started struggling. The Tigers finished the half hitting only four of their last 22 shots, and the Golden Hurricane got within 21-18 on a pair of Steve Idlet free throws at 4:09.

Dozier hit three of four free throws, Evans drove through the paint for a layup and added two free throws for a 28-20 halftime lead. He almost drew a foul that might have sent him to the line with less than seven seconds left when Jordan put an elbow into his chest, but there was no call. Jordan drove to the basket and was called for a travel.

The clock showed 5.7 seconds remaining, so officials reviewed the final sequence. The clock had stopped with about 6.5 seconds left, anticipating a foul, and they ruled the first half over.

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