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Memphis rolls past UAB to first-ever C-USA title

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) -- Memphis believes it's earned a No. 1 seed
in the NCAA Tournament. Now it's up to the selection committee to
decide.

"We have done everything we could do," said coach John
Calipari, after the fifth-ranked Tigers beat UAB (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today; No. 24 AP) 57-46
Saturday to win the Conference USA tournament.

"When we coach against another team, we're trying to make it as
hard as we can on them to beat us," Calipari said. "On this
committee, we're trying to [make it] as hard as we can for them not
to give us [the No. 1 seed]. They may not, but we made it very
difficult for them by winning the game."

The Tigers (30-3) were also the league's regular-season champs,
with only one conference loss -- to UAB on March 2 in Birmingham.

Joey Dorsey had 10 points, 12 rebounds and two blocks for
Memphis and led a Tigers defense that shut down the Blazers (24-6)
inside and held them to 27 percent shooting.

"Our defense was phenomenal," Calipari said. "Joey Dorsey was
an absolute monster, and we need him to be a monster."

Tournament MVP Shawne Williams had 18 points to lead Memphis,
which became the second team in conference history to win 30 games
in a season. Cincinnati, which just completed its first season in
the Big East, had 31 victories in 2001-02.

"I'm tired. I'm exhausted," Williams said. "I thought Joey
[Dorsey] deserved the MVP ... He was just a rebounding bully."

Paul Delaney led UAB with 14 points.

"Everyone thought they were just going to hand the trophy to
Memphis, but that didn't happen," Blazers coach Mike Anderson
said. "I think we could be a dangerous team, and I still like our
basketball team."

The Tigers led from the start, jumping out to a 7-0 advantage.
Memphis went on a 13-2 run to take a 17-point lead, their largest
of the game, with about 8½ minutes to play. A tip-in by Rodney
Carney made the score 49-32.

Carney, the Tigers' leading scorer and the conference player of
the year, managed only eight points, missing 11-of-14 shots,
including 6-of-8 from 3-point range.

Darius Washington had seven points for Memphis, hitting all
three of his free throws.

Last year, Washington missed two of three free throws with no
time left in a 75-74 loss to Louisville in the title game.
Washington crumpled to the floor at the end of that game, but left
the court with a smile this time.

While the Tigers shot only 33 percent, they were successful
early from 3-point range, taking a 32-22 lead at the half.

The Blazers missed their first 12 shots and failed to get a
field goal until seven minutes into the game when Wen Mukubu scored
on a layup.

"You have to shoot the basketball and we did not shoot the ball
well," Anderson said. "I think Memphis wanted the game a little more."

Memphis hit six of its first 11 tries from 3-point range.
Williams, who had 13 points for the first half, was 3-of-5 from
behind the arc, while Antonio Anderson hit on both of his 3-point
attempts.