Rose struggles, Douglas-Roberts steady in No. 3 Memphis' victory

NEW YORK (AP) -- John Calipari didn't call out Chris Douglas-Roberts by name after an off night in the semifinals of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic. But the Memphis coach did single out the guy wearing No. 14.

"I think he got the message," he said.

Douglas-Roberts answered with a career-high 33 points and the No. 3 Tigers, after racing out to a big early lead, held on to beat Connecticut 81-70 on Friday night in the championship game of the tournament benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer.

"He was so lackadaisical" against Oklahoma, Calipari said of Douglas-Roberts. "But it's so early in the season."

Freshman sensation Derrick Rose added a career-high 24 points for the Tigers, who opened an early 15-point lead but found themselves trailing by one at the half. Rose looked every bit the first-year player running the point, though, turning the ball over five times without an assist.

"I called a timeout and went right at him," said Calipari, who threatened to bench Rose if he put up another circus shot. "But he's going to be a pretty good player -- pretty good right now."

Douglas-Roberts, the tournament MVP, broke open a close game during a decisive second-half run, hitting a pair of free throws with the game knotted at 60 and less than nine minutes to play. That set off a 16-5 spurt capped by his jumper with 3:55 left, putting the game out of reach.

"We knew Connecticut is a good team and they were going to make a run," Douglas-Roberts said. "If we get nervous any time a team like that makes a run, we're in trouble."

A.J. Price scored 23 to lead Connecticut (3-1), often playing much bigger than his 6-foot-2 frame. He routinely threw himself among the Memphis forwards, slicing through the lane to help the Huskies rally in the first half and stay close after the break.

"A.J. I thought led us back," Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. "One guy sitting 3 inches from me (in the crowd) said, 'I'm taking the early train back.' But we fought back and I was very proud of that."

Jerome Dyson scored 14 of his 17 points after halftime for UConn, which also got 11 points and nine rebounds from Hasheem Thabeet.

Memphis forward Joey Dorsey, who aggravated a shoulder injury in the semifinal against Oklahoma, played sparingly in the first half and finished with four points and 12 rebounds, most of those on the defensive end as the Tigers (4-0) pulled away.

It was the first time Calhoun and Calipari, bitter rivals from when Calipari led Massachusetts, had faced each other in 17 years. Back then, the brash, young UMass coach invaded New England to steal away future NBA star Marcus Camby and plenty of Calhoun's thunder.

But all that was years ago, before Calipari moved on to the NBA and long before he took over at Memphis.

Both say tensions have eased. Calhoun called Memphis "one of the finest teams in America" after beating Gardner-Webb in the semifinals, even before he knew that the Tigers would dispatch Oklahoma in Thursday's nightcap.

Memphis certainly looked as good as advertised early on.

The Tigers raced to their big lead with a frenetic run-run-run pace that left Connecticut dazed and disheveled. In one stretch Dorsey slammed an ally-oop from Willie Kemp, Robert Dozier blocked a dunk attempt at the other end, and Rose layed in a windmilling scoop high off the glass to make it 18-3 barely five minutes in.

"Obviously Rose is a great, great young player," Calhoun said. "And if Douglas-Roberts isn't a first-team All-American, somebody is making a serious mistake."

Connecticut slowly whittled away at the lead, closing to 36-29 with 3:15 left. Then Calipari was hit with a technical foul for riding the referees, and a minute later center Shawn Taggart was hit with another for slamming the ball down in frustration.

After a parade of free throws -- the Huskies went to the line 23 times in the half against just three for Memphis -- Jeff Adrien knocked down two with 12.9 seconds remaining to give UConn a 41-40 lead at the break.

"I don't know if we let an opportunity go by or had an opportunity taken away," Calhoun said. "When we got down we were in serious trouble. ... We showed a lot of character coming back."

In the third-place game at Madison Square Garden, the Sooners beat Gardner-Webb 69-55.

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