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Memphis ousts Texas A&M

STEPHEN HAWKINS • Mar 23, 2007 at 6:36 AM

SAN ANTONIO - Visualize this: The Memphis Tigers are one win away from the NCAA Final Four.

Forget those season-long struggles from the free throw line. The Tigers are making them when it counts, with Antonio Anderson hitting two with 3.1 seconds left Thursday night for a 65-64 victory over Texas A&M in the NCAA South Regional semifinal.

Anderson came in shooting 64 percent from the free throw line and was 1-for-4 when he went to the line after being fouled at the end of a wild sequence in which the Tigers missed three quick shots.

The Tigers have been one of the nation's worst free throw-shooting teams all season. They were so bad that coach John Calipari quit having them shoot in postseason practice and told his players to visualize making them instead.

Memphis (33-3) stretched its winning streak to 25 games and advanced to a regional final for the second straight year. The Tigers, who last went to the Final Four in 1985, will Ohio State on Saturday.

Texas A&M (27-7), three seasons with coach Billy Gillispie removed from an 0-16 record in the Big 12, had one final chance, but Dominique Kirk's shot from just inside half-court was woefully short.

Kirk took the final shot instead of "Captain Clutch," senior Acie Law, who had 13 points. He was only 6-of-17 from the field in his final game for the Aggies - and blew a layup with just under a minute left after he took a long inbound pass.

That was the last good shot the Aggies got.

Texas A&M was unable to take advantage of a partisan crowd - the stands in the Alamodome were filled mostly with maroon-clad fans providing a football-like atmosphere and waiting to celebrate another big Aggies victory.

Instead, it was the small contingency of fans in blue behind the Memphis bench - including former Tigers star Penny Hardaway - who were cheering at the end.

After Law's blown layup, Jeremy Hunt missed a 3-pointer for the Tigers. But Anderson got the rebound and they called timeout with 26 seconds left.

Andre Allen missed a 3-pointer with 11 seconds left and Hunt and Robert Dozier missed follow-up attempts before Anderson grabbed another rebound - and was fouled by Donald Sloan while trying his own putback.

Texas A&M outrebounded the Tigers 36-31, but didn't get the ones at the end that mattered the most, and might have created a different outcome.

Hunt, the Tigers' sixth man, had 19 points. Chris Douglas-Roberts, wearing a brace to support his sprained left ankle sustained last weekend, scored 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

Antanas Kavaliauskas had 17 points and eight rebounds for the Aggies, who played in their first regional semifinal since 1980.

The Aggies blew a 42-37 lead by hitting only three of their first 13 shots after halftime.

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