The University of Memphis Tigers and the Kansas Jayhawks have advanced to the finals of the men's collegeMemphis defeated the University of California at Los Angeles, 78-63, and Kansas beat North Carolina, 84-66 basketball tournament in San Antonio, Texas. As VOA's David Byrd reports, Memphis defeated the University of California at Los Angeles, 78-63, and Kansas beat North Carolina, 84-66.
UCLA scored the first points of the game, but Memphis was not intimidated. The Tigers had lost only once this season and the team was able to take the lead and hold it for most of the game.
Chris Douglas-Roberts led the Tigers with 28 points. Memphis coach John Calipari says his team made some mistakes, but it was able to take all UCLA could throw at it and still win.
"I'm really proud of them; we defended, made it hard on a team that shoots a high percentage," said Calipari. 'But I was proud of our guys, right up and down the line. But the reality of it is that I have a good team. They are a good team of players that play well together, take care of the ball, rebound - got a good team."
Chris Douglas Roberts says that his team plays every game unselfishly, and that helped the Tigers win their semifinal.
"Every game we expect to play really well. We talk to each other, you know, before the game. And we play off each other. No selfishness anywhere. Whoever has it going has it going. And that's why we played so well together," said Roberts. "Today, we just carried over from the Michigan State and Texas Game. We played really well together."
For UCLA, this marks the third straight time the Bruins have been to the final four only to lose. Memphis last went to the title game in 1973, when it lost to UCLA in the final.
In the second semifinal game, Kansas took the lead with the first basket of the game and expanded it to 28 points before halftime. The Jayhawks led by 17 at the break. But North Carolina was able to come within four points, but Kansas never surrendered the lead.
Kansas Coach Bill Self says the semifinal was almost like three games.
"First game we were great and the second game we were not very good and they were great. The last game obviously we played super down the stretch. Guys were in attack mode right for the outset, and I thought we just did a really good job of being the aggressor and that set the tone for the game," said Self.
Brandon Rush led the Jayhawks with 25 points.
Darnell Jackson of Kansas says that his team knows playing Memphis will be tough.
"A lot of guys were talking about this and Coach Self has been doing a great job in helping us to stay focused and telling us not to be satisfied. And we have been playing so hard as a team together and not playing selfishly and now we got an opportunity to make history at Kansas," said Jackson.
Kansas last went to the final in 2003, but the Jayhawks lost to Syracuse. Kansas and Memphis meet for the national title Monday night at the Alamodome.