Houston Sends Memphis to Early Exit in C-USA Tournament on Coleman Jumper, 66-65
March 11, 2010
TULSA, Okla. - Houston's Aubrey Coleman ducked under Will Coleman and hit a lean-in jumper with four seconds remaining to give the seventh-seed Houston Cougars the upset victory over the second-seed Memphis Tigers on Thurs., March 11 in the second round of the Conference USA tournament at the BOK Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Willie Kemp drove down the middle of the court looking for a desperation last-chance shot for the Tigers but was called the double-dribble to assure the Houston victory.
The win is the second of the season for the Cougars over the Tigers after Houston defeated Memphis, 92-75 on Feb. 24 at Hofheinz Pavillion in Houston. The win means the Cougars have now won the last two in the series but Memphis still leads the overall meetings between the two foes, 24-12.
Houston moves on to the semifinals of the 2010 C-USA Tournament where they will face the winner of UAB and Southern Miss, which was scheduled the tip-off following the conclusion of the Houston-Memphis game.
Kemp, one of three seniors on the roster for the Tigers, teamed with Will Coleman to help will the Tigers back from nine down at halftime. The native of Bolivar, Tenn., put in 15 second-half points including six-consecutive Memphis field goals in the final six minutes of the game, all of which came when the guard drove the lane past Houston defenders and layed the ball in. Kemp's 15 points were a season high for the senior and the most points he has scored since tallying a career-high 22 against Arkansas State on Nov. 20, 2007.
Memphis' Coleman had 10 second-half points, to finish the game with 14 points and eight rebounds. His 14 points marked the sixth time this season he has scored in double figures and the second time in as many games.
Houston was led by Coleman's 21 points and eight rebounds. In three games against the Tigers this season the senior tallied 87 points for an average of 29 points per game and averaged 6.7 rebounds per game.
The Cougars were aided by Kelvin Lewis' 13 points and Maurice McNeill's 10 points and nine rebounds.
Houston out-rebounded Memphis 46 to 33, including 22 offensive rebounds.
The Cougars shot 35.3-percent from the field, compared to Memphis' 25 percent.
After being held without a field goal for 11:45, the Tigers seized the momentum with back-to-back dunks by Coleman to cut what was at one time a 11-point lead for the Cougars in the second half down to a six-point lead.
After stopping the Cougars on the defensive end, Wesley Witherspoon hit a three-pointer for the Tigers to put the Tigers within two points of their foes.
However, Houston quickly used a coast-to-coast bucket from Zamal Nixon and a three-pointer from the right wing by Lewis to extend the lead back out to eight points for the Cougars.
After holding a steady lead for the better part of five minutes, Houston saw its lead erased after Elliot Williams connected on his first field goal of the game at the 6:30 mark and Kemp drove to the lane for five-consecutive layups for a 8-2 Memphis run, which put the Tigers ahead 61-59 with 3:21 remaining.
Kelvin Lewis put the Cougars back in the driver's seat with a crucial three-pointer at the 2:08 mark to put Houston ahead 62-61.
Williams hit two free throws to give the Tigers the lead back at 63-62 with 1:40 remaining.
The Cougars, needing a basket and down one to Memphis went to leading scorer, Coleman, who hit a 18-foot closely-guarded jumper to put Houston ahead 64-63 with 41 seconds left.
Kemp once again drove the lane to put the Tigers ahead with 15 seconds left on the clock but Coleman's lean-in jumper with four seconds remaining on the clock for Houston sealed the Tigers fate in the 2010 Conference USA tournament.
The Houston Cougars went into the locker room with a 36-27 lead over the Memphis Tigers. The nine-point deficit for the Tigers at the break was the second-largest half-time deficit this season for Memphis. The largest also came against the Cougars in the two teams' second meeting of the season on Feb. 24 at Hofheinz Pavillion in Houston.
The Cougars were led by Coleman's 12 first-half points. The nation's leading scorer put in 12 of the first 16 points for Tom Penders' Houston squad. Outside of Coleman, Houston's scoring attack was balanced, with five points from Lewis and Adam Brown and four points by Sean Coleman, McNeill and Nixon.
Coleman, a senior from Houston, Texas, chipped in eight rebounds to help the Cougars lead the battle on the glass 26-17 over the Tigers at the half. Houston grabbed 11 offensive rebounds to Memphis' three in the first half.
Houston shot 37.1 percent from the field in the first half compared to Memphis' 38.5 percent. The Cougars hit four shots from beyond the arc compared to two three-pointers from the Tigers.
The early exit at the C-USA tournament signifies the end to a four-year run of C-USA Tournament championships for the Tigers. The quarterfinal loss is the earliest exit for the Tigers in the tournament since losing in the quarterfinals to Saint Louis during the 2004 season. Memphis now awaits its post-season fate. The Tigers will figure out if they will get a bid to the NCAA or NIT on Sunday.