11-15-07 - Joey Dorsey returned to the Memphis lineup with the kind of performance the third-ranked Tigers will need from him every game if they are going to be a contender for the national championship.
Dorsey, who missed the first two games of the season with a shoulder injury, finished with nine points, 12 rebounds and five blocks in the Tigers' 63-53 victory over Oklahoma on Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2K Sports College Hoop Classic.
"I was just happy to be out on the floor. I was so amped up for this game. I couldn't wait to start playing," Dorsey said. "I'll try to get rest and get ready for a physical game, football game tomorrow."
Memphis (3-0) will face Connecticut, which beat Gardner-Webb 78-66, on Friday night at Madison Square Garden in the championship game of the tournament that benefits Coaches vs. Cancer.
Dorsey banged the shoulder during the game and had a big ice pack on it afterward.
"I hurt it, I hurt it bad, so I'm going to get some treatment tonight" he said. "It's real tight and I can't lift my arm."
Freshman guard Derrick Rose led Memphis with 17 points, and Chris Douglas-Roberts added 12.
"He's a huge player, changed the game," Rose said of Dorsey. "I know you all saw him out there grabbing rebounds, blocking shots, catching 'oops. That's what he's supposed to do."
Longar Longar led the Sooners (3-1) with 13 points.
"Oklahoma played so well, physical," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "We had chances to spread it out and get that lead to where it's ballgame, and they never really let us get to that."
After trailing 35-25 at halftime, the Sooners got within 45-40 on a fastbreak dunk by Austin Johnson with 12 minutes to play.
Memphis then went on a 10-3 run of which Rose had the final seven points, the last two on free throws after a technical foul was called against Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel. It was Memphis' first 12-point lead of the game and the Tigers would match it two more times.
Dorsey sprained his right shoulder during practice and didn't play in the Tigers' season-opening wins over Tennessee-Martin and Richmond. The 6-foot-9 senior was a force in the middle throughout, especially on the defensive end.
The Tigers are coming off consecutive regional final appearances in the NCAA tournament and with all five starters back from last season, Rose has been one of the impact freshmen in the country.
He was the MVP of the Memphis regional for this tournament and despite an off-night shooting, he was still a big factor getting the Tigers out in the open court.
It was a sloppy game with the teams combining for 39 turnovers, 39 personal fouls and both teams shot 38 percent from the field.
"Nineteen turnovers is not going to get it done," Capel said. "We have to do a better job of executing. I was happy with how active we were and the energy we showed.
"There are some really good teams in our league but this team we played tonight is on another level."
Oklahoma freshman Blake Griffin, who averaged 16.3 points in the Sooners' first three games, finished with eight as Memphis' forwards took turns guarding him.
"This was our most difficult game and it was a great learning experience," Griffin said. "You have to give credit to Memphis and how good a team they are. Hopefully we'll get to play again some time."
Calipari said the Tigers did give Griffin some special attention.
"We don't double-team that often," he said. "We had so much respect for him."
Griffin, too, was impressed by Dorsey.
"I don't know if I've played against a player that big and strong as he is," he said. "He's a great player."
Memphis is 6-0 all-time against Oklahoma with the previous victory in the opening round of last year's EA Sports Maui Invitational.