If the Memphis Tigers were going to crack, this was the time -- especially because they were facing a formidable opponent for the first time since before Christmas.
John Calipari's bunch didn't budge. Not by a single point.
A deep, versatile Memphis club pulled together and shut out Nick Fazekas and Nevada over the final 6:17 Sunday, carrying the Tigers to a 78-62 victory in the second round of the NCAA tournament and bumping the nation's longest winning streak to 24 in a row.
"When our leading scorer goes down and we come together like that, for a coach, that gets pretty emotional," Calipari said. "You look at us play and we swarmed and ran and covered for each other. ... I've got a good bunch of guys that are trying to do something unique."
Chris Douglas-Roberts led Memphis (32-3) with 16 points, but missed the final 8:11 with a left ankle sprain described by Calipari as mild-to-moderate. The Tigers overcame it thanks to the play at both ends of the court from guys such as Jeremy Hunt, Antonio Anderson and Robert Dozier.
"We are a deep team," Anderson said. "When guys get their chance to play, they make the best of it and that is why we do what we do."
Hunt scored 16 points, Anderson had 14 points and 10 rebounds, and Dozier had nine points, eight rebounds and most of the good defense on Fazekas. Backup point guard Andre Allen had yet another better-than-usual game in the NCAA tournament with 10 points and four assists, and bruising big man Joey Dorsey was aggressive as ever underneath.
Now Memphis, which made the round of 16 last year with a very different lineup, is headed to San Antonio for a South Regional showdown Thursday against third-seeded Texas A&M. Once again, it'll be the toughest test yet for a team that's beaten only five teams that made the NCAA field -- counting the two they've already knocked off.
Calipari is hopeful Douglas-Roberts will be ready to face the Aggies.