Sallie's Record Ten 3s Save Memphis
March 20, 2009
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Blake Griffin survived a WWE-style takedown to make sure Oklahoma rolled into the second round. Memphis, the other top seed in Kansas City, needed a lesser-known player to survive a scare from Cal State Northridge: Roburt Sallie.
A 4.5-point scorer on the season, Sallie hit an opening-round record 10 3-pointers and scored 35 to help second-seeded Memphis hold off the Matadors 81-70 Thursday and avoid one of the biggest upsets in NCAA tournament history.
"Coach just kept saying shoot the ball and they kept leaving me open," said Sallie, who failed to score in nine games this season. "I got a lot of open looks today and I just hit the shots."
It's a good thing for Memphis (32-3).
Last year's NCAA runner-up had its hands full with Northridge (17-14) for most of the game and was in danger of becoming just the fifth No. 2 seed to lose in the opening round since the NCAA's 64-team format started in 1985.
The Tigers pulled it out, thanks to Sallie, and move on to face Maryland, which beat California 84-71 in the other West Region game. In the South Region, Oklahoma rolled over Morgan State 82-54, spoiling former disgraced Cal coach Todd Bozeman's return to the NCAA tournament, and Michigan held off Clemson 62-59 in its first NCAA tournament game in 11 years.
Memphis nearly didn't join that group.
The Tigers came out flat and allowed the crowd to get behind the Matadors, who lost one key player to a traffic accident and another to a burglary charge earlier in the season. Cal State Northridge, a 19-point underdog, led by seven early and was still up 62-56 when Vincent Cordell scored on a layup with just over 10 minutes left.
Sallie, of course, led Memphis back, hitting a 3-pointer to spark a decisive 9-0 run that pushed the Tigers to their nation-best 26th straight win. Sallie finished 10-of-15 from 3-point range to break the first-round mark - set by Michigan's Garde Thompson in 1987 - by one, and set a school record for points in an NCAA tournament game. The rest of his more well-known teammates shot a combined 1-for-13 from beyond the arc.
"Obviously, we didn't anticipate what Sallie was going to do today," Northridge coach Bobby Braswell said. Oklahoma 82, Morgan State 54, South Regional
Grievis Vasquez scored 27 points and Maryland used its press to keep Cal from getting in an offensive rhythm, shutting down the nation's best 3-point shooting team.
Cal (22-11) led the country in 3-point shooting at 43 percent during the regular season, but the 10th-seeded Terps (21-13) hounded the Bears into one of their worst-shooting games of the season. Cal finishing 7-for-24 from beyond the arc - its fourth-lowest percentage of the season.
Vasquez finished 10-for-21 from the floor and added five rebounds and four assists to help Maryland reach the second round in its ninth straight NCAA appearance. Dave Neal added 15 points and Eric Hayes had 14.
Theo Robertson led the Bears with 22 points and Jerome Randle had 14, but took just three shots in the second half. Patrick Christopher, one of Cal's best perimeter shooters, finished 0-for-7 from 3-point range. Michigan 62, Clemson 59, South Regional