MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP)—Joey Dorsey set a dominating tone inside for No. 11 Memphis. It wasn’t good enough for coach John Calipari.
Dorsey scored 13 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked three shots to lead No. 11 Memphis to a 72-59 victory over Tulsa on Wednesday night.
Dorsey, the 6-foot-9, 260-pound junior, dominated the inside in the first half and the Tigers (16-3, 6-0 Conference USA) built an early lead en route to their eighth straight victory, keeping them undefeated at home.
Despite the numbers, Calipari continued to harp on the Tigers’ big man, bellowing at him to hustle and jerking him out of the game when he sensed Dorsey’s effort wasn’t there.
“Think about it,” Calipari said. “He’s getting a double-double and I’m not happy, and everybody’s looking at me like I’m out of my mind. Well, it depends. If you think I should accept what I think is less than he’s capable of, you’re right.
“… Joey could have 18 rebounds a game, so if you’re capable of that, and I accept getting 12, I’m doing him a disservice.”
Tulsa (12-6, 2-3) lost its third straight, and the Golden Hurricane have lost all four road games this season.
Golden Hurricane coach Doug Wojcik was pleased that his team outrebounded Memphis 46-41, and held the Tigers to not only 40 percent shooting, but also eight points under their average. It was the 16th time out of 18 games that Tulsa has held an opponent under its scoring average.
“We’re very good defensively,” Wojcik said. “We’re a good defensive team, and you’re going to earn your points scoring against us. But we also struggled to score.”
Robert Dozier had 12 points and eight rebounds along with four blocks for Memphis, while Jeremy Hunt scored 11 on 4-of-15 shooting from the field.
Ray Reese led Tulsa with 17 points, and Ben Uzoh added 10 and 12 rebounds. Rod Earls, Tulsa’s leading scorer at 12.5 points, was limited to three points, missing five of his six shots from the field.
Tulsa was hindered by 18 turnovers and 34 percent shooting from the field.
“I thought we gave them too many layups,” Wojcik said. “When we played here last year, we had 11 turnovers for the game. It makes a world of difference between 18 and 11. Of those seven we gave them, five are probably layups.”
Memphis continued to play without leading scorer Chris Douglas-Roberts, who is recovering from a high ankle sprain.
Tulsa stayed fairly close with Memphis through the first half and the Tigers carried a 38-30 lead into the break.
Memphis used a 14-2 run midway through the half to build its first double-digit advantage as the Golden Hurricane struggled from the field, shooting 29 percent. Tulsa managed to stay within striking distance by switching defenses to throw the Tigers’ offense out of rhythm in parts of the half.
Memphis’ inside game was the difference. Led by Dorsey’s 11 points and eight rebounds in the half, Memphis held a 24-10 advantage in the paint. Combined with 19 points off 11Tulsa turnovers, Memphis took the lead early and didn’t relinquish it through the first half.
Memphis maintained the double-digit margin for the bulk of the second half, building the advantage to as many as 16. The Golden Hurricane were hindered by their continued shooting woes, and never seemed to get enough momentum going after the break to substantially cut into the Tiger lead.
But Calipari was disappointed with his team’s competitive edge. He said they seemed to go through the motions without challenging the man they were playing against or pushing as hard as possible.
“To get guys to understand to play harder than the guys they are playing against, especially if they think they are better, is a tough challenge,” Calipari said. “That’s the challenge we have in front of us to see if we can become special.
“Guys don’t understand what it means to compete, and they still do fine. My thing is we need to compete against us and not the other team.”