HOUSTON (AP) — Texas sure didn't see anything like Memphis in the Big 12.
Memphis' size, speed and length overwhelmed the Longhorns 85-67 on Sunday as the Tigers rolled into the Final Four, just two day after Texas looked so good in dominating Stanford with speed and a bulky backup center in the South Regional semifinal.
The rim-rattling, backboard-shaking dunks. The steals. The high-flying leaps for layups and rebounds.
Memphis was no Stanford — not even close — and Texas, which won a share of the Big 12 regular season title and set a school record with 31 wins, just couldn't keep up.
"That was an NBA lineup," Texas forward Damion James said.
And that "home" crowd at Reliant Stadium? Well, Memphis never really let it get revved up. By the time the orangebloods, who vastly outnumbered the Memphis blue in the crowd, finally started making some noise, it was too late.
Memphis stunned Texas with a big early lead, snuffed a rally at the start of the second and pulled away for the rout with their own special brand of showtime basketball.
Memphis outscored Texas 40-24 in the paint and held the Longhorns to 36 percent shooting. Texas never led or managed to at least pull even. When the Longhorns got the Memphis lead down to five early in the second, a thunderous baseline dunk by Derrick Rose quieted the crowd.
"Coach said you can lose games in the first half as much as the second," forward Gary Johnson said. "That's what happened to us today."
It was more than just a bad start. Memphis forced turnovers, denied drives into the lane and blocked shots.
"Every time we got past a defender, there was another one there to block the shot," Johnson said.
As good as point guard D.J. Augustin was this season, Memphis' Rose looked ready for the NBA. Rose appeared to be stronger and a step faster, frustrating Augustin into four first-half turnovers. Augustin's first 3-point attempt was an airball as a defender leaped and made him alter the shot.
"He's strong, he's quick and he doesn't make stupid decisions," said Augustin, who at 6-feet, 180 pounds is 3 inches shorter and 25 pounds lighter than the muscular Rose. "We knew he was going to be a problem."
When Augustin was able to drive the lane, the Tigers' big bodies in the middle pushed him out just far enough his trademark fall-away kept coming up an inch or two short. Augustin finished with 16 points on 4-of-18 shooting and had three assists.
"He knows he can play better than he did today," Texas coach Rick Barnes said. "He'll play it over many, many times, but what I know about him, he will learn from it and get better."
A.J. Abrams, Texas' 3-point shooting ace this season, had a tough day as well. Memphis' size and speed on the perimeter kept the 5-foot-11, 155-pound Abrams from slashing and weaving for an opening for his quick-release 3-pointer.
After scoring 26 points in each of the Longhorns' first two tournament games, Abrams finished with 17 points but started 1-of-5 against the Tigers. He didn't hit his first basket until a long jumper cut the Memphis lead to 15 points with 2 minutes left in the first; he didn't hit a 3-pointer until Texas trailed by 19 midway through the second half.
"Their defense was very impressive," Abrams said. "It was pretty difficult trying to get shots off against them."
Memphis seemed to have an answer for everything Texas tried to do. When Barnes sent 299-pound center Dexter Pittman into the game, Memphis' John Calipari counter-punched with 310-pound Pierre Niles.
Niles played only one minute of the half and didn't contribute a point or a rebound, but the underlying message was clear: anything Texas could do, Memphis could do and do it bigger — and in the Longhorns' backyard no less.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press.