MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Southern Mississippi coach Larry Eustachy was realistic about his team's ability to keep pace with No. 3 Memphis.
They had no chance, the Golden Eagles' coach said after losing 80-41 to the Tigers on Tuesday night.
"This was a mismatch," Eustachy said. "We could play them 100
times, and we'd never beat them one time. We just wouldn't. That's
just the way it is."
Darius Washington and Shawne Williams had 11 points each for
Memphis (23-2, 9-0 Conference USA), and Robert Dozier finished with
10 points, hitting all three of his shots from the field and all
four free throws.
The game was important for Cooper, who was arrested Jan. 23 for
possession of marijuana in a Memphis suburb. He missed four games
after the episode and pleaded guilty to charges connected to the
incident earlier Tuesday.
"I thought Kareem was terrific," Memphis coach John Calipari
said. "He's been working out at 6:30 in the morning. He's been
working hard at practice. He has been humble about this whole
Memphis led 34-10 at the half, the lowest total for a Memphis
opponent in a half this season. The Golden Eagles scored two points
in the first 10 minutes and failed to score in the final 7 minutes.
However, it wasn't Southern Mississippi's worst performance in a
half this season. The Golden Eagles had only nine points in the
second half of a 44-30 loss to Denver in November.
With Tigers defenders denying passes and pressuring the ball,
Southern Mississippi shot 15 percent from the field in the first
half and had 13 turnovers.
"When you don't score, you don't look good that's all there is
to it," Eustachy said of the first half performance. "We didn't
score, and we didn't look good."
Memphis had its own problems in the half, committing nine
turnovers and missing 10 of its first 13 shots. That hindered the
Tigers from building the lead to double digits until midway through
the half. Memphis scored the last 15 points of the half.
Things just didn't get better for Southern Mississippi in the
second half, with Memphis using a 14-3 run to make it 57-21. Part
of that was the intensity of the Memphis defense despite holding a
double-digit lead most of the game.
Calipari acknowledged that one reason for that intensity with a
big lead is his team plays "for a coach who's half nuts, and who's
on you to go hard with great intensity."
"He coaches every single play, and you're going to have to do
it, even if we're up 35 or 40," Carney said. "If you're out there
playing around, and not really intense, he's going to sub you. You
don't want to get subbed. You want to be out there and play."