NCAA Tournament: Memphis 92, Michigan State 74
HOUSTON ó Vulnerable? Not exactly.
The mighty Memphis Tigers humiliated Michigan State and embarrassed all those naysayers who suggested they were the most suspect of the top seeds in this year’s tournament.
The final score Friday night: Memphis 92, Michigan State 74, but really, it was worse than that.
Next up in the South Regional, a game Sunday against Texas with a trip to the Final Four on the line, though the message on this overwhelming night was clear: Don’t mess with Memphis.
Freshman Derrick Rose will play at least one more college game after a 27-point, five-assist night that showed he’s ready for the NBA. He exited early in the second half with a cut on his forehead , but returned to the floor with 81/2 minutes left and started dominating again.
Meanwhile, Michigan State senior Drew Neitzel’s career is over, and this was no way to end it. He was held to six points, his first of two buckets coming on a 3-pointer that clanged around the rim and fell, mercifully, with 1:47 left.
The game had long been over by then. The score at halftime was 50-20.
Goran Suton led the fifth-seeded Spartans with 23 points and nine rebounds. Chris Allen had 20.
The Tigers (36-1) were already rolling, ahead by 15, when they went on a 15-0 run to close the first half. It included a jam by Antonio Anderson, a double-pump stuff by Rose, a breakaway windmill dunk by Joey Dorsey and an appearance from the big fella, Pierre Niles, a 310-pound forward who had played all of 93 minutes this season.