Tigers not beating themselves up after title-game loss
MEMPHIS, Tenn. ó Coach John Calipari brushed off talk about missed free throws Tuesday as several hundred screaming fans welcomed the Memphis Tigers home following their NCAA championship loss to Kansas.
Memphis fell to Kansas 75-68 Monday night after the Jayhawks forced the game into overtime following four Tiger misses from the free throw line in the final 1:12 of regulation.
Calipari refused to blame the loss on those misses by stars Chris Douglas-Roberts and Derrick Rose, saying the game turned on many factors, not just foul shots.
iI could have called a timeout here, a timeout there. They should have made a couple of free throws,î he said after the fan greeting. iMaybe we donít turn it over. Maybe we grab a rebound. Maybe we make a stop. So you canít … weíre not going to beat ourselves up.î
The Tigers struggled with free throws through the regular season, hitting barely 59 percent, though they improved to 70 percent early in the tournament.
Calipari said he could not be more proud of his players.
iI told them today and yesterday I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to coach them,î he said.
Several hundred fans decked out in Tiger blue and waving welcome home signs met the Tigers as their charter flight from San Antonio taxied to a cargo-loading area of the Memphis airport.
iTheyíre great kids,î fan Lisa Morton said. iLook at the love here. Itís fabulous.î
Calipari and several players spoke briefly to the crowd from a raised platform as the fans pressed against a temporary fence blocking their access to the stage.
By Leigha Hougland and Kaitlyn Cuevas For The Salisbury Post Imagine yourself on stage in front of thousands of screaming... read more