NCAA Courtside Memories, No. 3: KU's Chalmers Knocks Out Calipari's 'Cats

Chris Dufresne

I remember Kansas defeating Memphis that Monday night in April, 2008, as much as people in San Antonio remember the Alamo.

I remember Kansas guard Sherron Collins doing 55 in a school zone as he zigged, then zagged, toward NCAA history at the Alamodome.

I remember Memphis being up, 63-60, with 10 seconds left and me (and half the nation) screaming that Memphis needed to foul Collins in this situation.

It's the age-old conundrum facing coaches ever since the inception of the three-point shot.

If you have a three-point lead late, fouling the opposition in the bonus almost guarantees you possession with the lead.

Some important coaches, though, including the likes of Phil Jackson, prefer to take their chances in the situation.

I have never accepted that notion, no matter how loudly Jackson's 11 NBA titles bark back at me.

I still think fouling Collins that night in San Antonio was the right play.

I remember Memphis Coach John Calipari saying his Tigers were trying to foul Collins but the problem was they couldn't catch him in time.

I remember Collins making a cut-move in the backcourt and then barreling down the middle where he almost lost the ball before somehow ditching it  to Mario Chalmers, who was moving right to left across your dial .

I was sitting left of center court, while Chalmers was angling to the top of the key.

I was on the other side of the right-court action, but in perfect position to see Chalmers rise in the night and let loose his three-pointer.

It was as if the ball could have come off my right hand.

Swish!

The game Calipari and Memphis should have won spilled into an exciting overtime period in which Kansas ultimately pulled away and won, 75-68.

Memphis should have won?

Oh yeah. Lost in Chalmers' glory to some is the fact Memphis led by nine points with 2:12 remaining in regulation.

Truth is no team with Calipari as coach and Derrick Rose as starring guard should blow a nine-point lead in the NCAA title game.

Calipari and Rose probably still have recurring nightmares about the final two minutes.

"I take full responsibility," Calipari said after the game. "I'm proud of them. I'm disappointed in myself."

With 10 seconds left, in fact, Memphis led by two with Rose at the free throw line. Two makes almost cinches victory for the Tigers but the front-end of Rose's first try rattled in and out. Rose made the second attempt, setting the stage for "Mario's Moon Shoot."

        

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Chris Dufresne

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