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November 5, 2007
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Derrick Rose didn't take long to adjust to the college game.
Rivals.com's top rated point guard in the class of 2007 had 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in his collegiate debut and No. 3 Memphis beat Tennessee-Martin 102-71 on Monday night in the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic.
"When we were dying, he scored," Memphis coach John Calipari said. "We were dying, he blocks a shot. We were dying, he goes in there and makes a play."
Rose was 8-for-16 from the field and had four dunks, bringing the 16,555 fans at FedExForum to their feet cheering each time. He also had a block on a breakaway in the first half that sent Calipari out of his chair and invigorated the Tigers' bench.
But how does the freshman rate his first performance?
"I'll give it a 'C,'" Rose said. "I can do a lot better."
His teammates weren't as modest.
"He does things that a lot of people haven't seen," guard Chris Douglas-Roberts said. "He deserves all the credit. It's crazy to think that was his first game."
Douglas-Roberts quietly tied his career-high with 28 points and grabbed eight rebounds for Memphis (1-0).
Lester Hudson had 35 points for Tennessee-Martin (0-1), which gave the Tigers an early scare in the tournament that benefits Coaches vs. Cancer.
The Skyhawks looked energized early facing their toughest opponent of the season, bursting out to a 23-19 lead just 9 minutes into the game. Hudson hit three consecutive 3-pointers and had 16 points during that span.
It didn't last long.
Memphis countered with an 18-1 run - with Rose leading the charge - and never looked back. The Tigers scored the first 17 points in the second half to take a 66-38 lead and put the game out of reach.
"We had some cold spells tonight," Tennessee-Martin coach Bret Campbell said. "And you can't have cold spells against a team of this caliber."
Although Memphis returned all five starters and has gone to consecutive NCAA tournament regional finals, Rose might be the best player on a veteran roster.
"I was a little scared," he said. "But I didn't it let it get to me."
Hudson said guarding Rose one-on-one was nearly impossible.
"Fastest point guard I've ever played against," Hudson said.
Marquis Weddle added eight points for the Skyhawks, who shot 31.2 percent and couldn't match the speed of Memphis, especially Rose.
Calipari said Rose might be the player Memphis needs this year to push them into the Final Four.
"You need to have a guy, that when the game is on the line, he can just dog the other guys and do whatever he wants when he wants," Calipari said. "He can do that."
Memphis senior forward Joey Dorsey has a sprained right shoulder sprain and did not play. He is also expected to miss Tuesday night's game with the injury. Shawn Taggart, a transfer from Iowa State, started in his place and finished with 15 rebounds.
Douglas-Roberts had 28 points against Austin Peay last season.
The Tigers will play Richmond, which beat Maine 44-42 on Monday, in the regional final Tuesday night. The winner will play in the semifinals at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 15.