By JOE KAY, AP Sports Writer
December 3, 2005
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Antonio Anderson and the rest of Memphis' freshman-laden lineup didn't know much about the Shoemaker Center's history until they practiced there on Saturday morning.
Coach John Calipari told them that Cincinnati would come out determined not to let history happen in its arena. Enlightened by the lesson, Anderson made it happen anyway.
The freshman guard emerged from his shooting slump by scoring 32 points, and No. 9 Memphis beat the Bearcats 91-81 on Saturday for a place in their basketball history.
Cincinnati had never lost back-to-back games in the 17-year history of its arena before Dayton and Memphis (6-1) beat them in a five-day span.
"That was our motivation coming in," Anderson said. "That's why I made the shots I did."
Anderson, who had made only 10 baskets all season and was shooting 34.5 percent from the field, went 11-of-15 in a breakout game. Shawne Williams added 19 points in a balanced fast-break attack -- four Tigers finished in double figures.
"After I hit the first two, I knew tonight was going to be my night," said Anderson, who hadn't scored more than eight points in any game. "I got hot and kept it going. I didn't think they'd leave me open in the second half, but they did and I kept on knocking them down."
And, for the first time, the Bearcats (3-2) went down twice in a row at home. They never did that during the last 16 years under coach Bob Huggins, who was ousted last August by school president Nancy Zimpher.
The crowd chanted "Fire Nancy!" in the closing seconds Saturday. There have been at least 3,000 empty seats for each home game in an arena that was full more often than not during Huggins' tenure.
"Nobody likes being the first of anything negative," said power forward Eric Hicks, who had 15 points and 14 rebounds. "The only thing we can do is keep on playing."
Calipari was booed during pregame introductions by another less-than-capacity crowd of 9,440. During the week, Calipari criticized Bearcats fans for deserting the program after Huggins' ouster.
Interim coach Andy Kennedy apologized to fans after the loss to Dayton, and refused to take any solace from playing a ranked team close.
"This is University of Cincinnati men's basketball," Kennedy said. "Not for one second will we take one step of moral victory out of this. Are you kidding me? We're not going there under my watch."
James White and Jihad Muhammad led Cincinnati with 17 points apiece, but the Bearcats couldn't overcome a season-high 20 turnovers and 37.9 percent shooting.
The Tigers' roster is very young and very deep, two traits on display throughout the game. Deep in foul trouble, the Tigers wound up with four freshmen on the floor late in the second half.
No matter. They topped 90 points for the fifth time in seven games.
"I think no team in the country can do what we just did out there," Anderson said. "We showed the city of Memphis and the nation what we're capable of."
Memphis tried to force things on offense in the opening minutes, hurrying shots and taking a lot of bad ones. The Tigers opened in a 4-for-13 shooting slump that got the crowd revved.
Determined to give a better showing after Dayton shoved them around, the Bearcats came out with more intensity. Muhammad's 3-pointer put them up 16-10, their biggest lead of the game.
That's when Memphis' depth started coming into play.
Darius Washington's 3-pointer started a 17-2 run that put the Tigers in their comfort zone. Five players scored during the run, which ended with a pair of 3's by Anderson that made it 30-18. Memphis held the Bearcats to one basket over the 6-minute, 32-second span.
Anderson scored 14 points in the first half, when Memphis led by as many as 13.
Cincinnati decided to run with Memphis at the start of the second half and got the better of the breakneck pace, putting together a 17-3 spurt that recharged the crowd. Muhammad hit a 3-pointer, a floating jumper and a pull-up jumper off an inbound pass that finished the run and put Cincinnati ahead 60-59.
Two of Memphis' inside threats -- Joey Dorsey and Kareem Cooper -- picked up their fourth fouls during Cincinnati's run. Calipari drew a technical foul for disputing Cooper's fifth -- a charge with Memphis up 72-70 -- and Dorsey fouled out 71 seconds later.
That's when Williams took control, hitting three consecutive baskets that helped Memphis pull ahead to stay 78-73.