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Tigers maul Bison as Memphis cruises into Sweet 16

DALLAS (AP) -- The Memphis Tigers can check a few more things off
their historic to-do list.

Having already earned their first No. 1 seed in the NCAA
Tournament, the Tigers advanced to the regional semifinals for the
first time since 1995 and set a school record for victories with a
72-56 win over Bucknell on Sunday.

And they may only be warming up.

"We're just playing basketball," said Antonio Anderson, whose
13 points led a balanced offense featuring six other players with
at least eight points. "We're performing really well as a team,
executing our plays, doing whatever Coach wants us to do."

Memphis (32-3) showed off all its skills, making seven
3-pointers and 52.4 percent of all its shots, while forcing 19
turnovers and holding Bucknell to 36.6 percent shooting.

The Tigers broke the game open with a 20-2 run, the majority
coming while the Bison's best player, Charles Lee, was on the bench
in foul trouble. Bucknell (27-5) got back within eight, but every
comeback was met with another burst of scoring, defending or both.

"It's amazing," marveled Bison guard Kevin Bettencourt. "It's
definitely frustrating because they shut everything down."

More amazing is that Memphis does it with a rotation featuring
four freshmen, three sophomores and only one senior, albeit the
Conference USA player of the year, Rodney Carney.

The Tigers won for the 21st time in 22 games, this one breaking
the school victory mark set by the 1985 club that made the Final
Four.

Their bid to match that feat will continue Thursday in Oakland,
Calif., against 13th-seeded Bradley. If they advance to the
regional finals, they'd get the winner of Gonzaga-UCLA.

Coach John Calipari showed his players a bracket of what awaits
next weekend, telling them "that's our little tournament coming
up." While he doesn't want them looking too far ahead, he's also
not too concerned about them being spoiled by success.

"They think they're supposed to win," Calipari said before
listing all the state titles and other accomplishments his players
achieved in high school. "It makes me laugh. They're looking at
me, like, `Would you calm down?"

Bucknell was trying to become the fourth No. 9 seed to take down
a No. 1 and the first team from the Patriot League to win a
second-round game. The Bison became the first-ever NCAA winners
from their brainy conference last year when they beat Kansas in the
first round.

They advanced again Friday with a 3-pointer-powered win over
Arkansas, then opened this game with a 3 in the corner by Lee, the
Patriot League player of the year. He followed with a steal that he
turned into a layup and soon Bucknell was up by six.

Then Lee got his second foul with 14:11 left and everything
changed.

The Bison got off only two shots while their small forward was
on the bench -- a missed 3 by his replacement and an uncontested
dunk off a press-breaking, full-court pass. Seven other possessions
all ended in turnovers, mostly bad passes that left coach Pat
Flannery hollering things like "Why?" and "Slow down!" when
players ran by the bench on defense.

By the time Lee returned, the Bison were down by nine.

The Tigers stretched the lead to 16, then it was 10 at halftime.
The margin yo-yoed from there: down to eight, up to 19, down to
nine, back to 15 following 3-pointers by Anderson and Carney with
the shot clock running out. It was 18 when Calipari emptied his
bench with 1:19 left.

Joey Dorsey scored 12 points for Memphis, while Carney and
Shawne Williams had 10.

Chris McNaughton led Bucknell with 15 points and Bettencourt
added 12. Lee, who didn't pick up his third foul until there was
2:04 left in the game, finished with 11 points.

The Bison were 2-of-12 on 3-pointers after making 11-of-21
against the Razorbacks.

Bucknell, which had won 18 of 19, can take solace in having won
the most games in school history. The Bison's handful of defeats
included losses at Duke and Villanova.

The departure of Lee and Bettencourt is somewhat the end of an
era for Bucknell as the senior class is the last that entered
before the school began giving out athletic scholarships. Both
players stopped for long hugs with Flannery when they were taken
out in the closing seconds.

"We don't spend a lot of time patting ourselves on the back,
but now that my career is over, I'm going to do that," Bettencourt
said. "I have absolutely no regrets. These guys are headed in the
right direction. I'm going to be a proud alum."

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