DALLAS — Oklahoma Coach Billy Tubbs believes that basketball should be played only one way, at a fast tempo with plenty of shots in the air.
Tubbs is a strong advocate of a 45-second shot clock. So is Memphis State Coach Dana Kirk.
But Kirk crossed up Tubbs with a half-court-type game and a slower tempo Saturday in the NCAA Midwest Regional final at Reunion Arena.
Memphis State also applied a defensive vise to All-American center Wayman Tisdale as the Tigers beat the Sooners, 63-61, to advance to the NCAA Final Four next Saturday at Lexington, Ky.
The winner of the Villanova-North Carolina game today in the Southeast Regional will oppose Memphis State (31-3) in the NCAA semifinals.
Tubbs was doing a slow burn after the game for a number of reasons. He was disturbed about the karate tactics Memphis State allegedly used on Tisdale, the tempo of the game and a turnover that wasn't a turnover.
Memphis State packed in its zone near the basket, covering Tisdale with 6-foot-10 Keith Lee, 7-foot William Bedford and others. He didn't get the ball very often and scored only 11 points while taking only 10 shots, tying a season low.
Tisdale, who played on the Olympic team, averaged 26.6 points in three previous tournament games.
Asked if he was concerned that Tisdale didn't get the ball in the second half, Tubbs said:
"I was concerned about that the first three minutes. But how do you get it to a guy who is being full-nelsoned and pounded? How do you get the ball to him unless you put him at point guard?
"But that's nothing new. He's the most abused player in America. I think people read the papers too much about other players being protected."
Tubbs also didn't mince any words when asked his opinion of whether Andre Turner, Memphis State's point guard, had committed a turnover in the final eight seconds.
The Tigers led, 63-61, at the time and Turner was scrambling with the ball while trying to get out of the backcourt under pressure.
It appeared he carried the ball over on the dribble, a turnover. But nothing was called. Instead, Oklahoma guard Tim McCalister was cited for fouling Turner.
Turner converted two free throws in a bonus situation to extend Memphis State's lead to four points 15 seconds earlier. But he couldn't make his first attempt in a one-and-one situation, and Oklahoma had one last chance to send the game into overtime.
Guard Anthony Bowie, usually an accurate outside shooter, cast off from 20 feet, but the ball hit the back of the rim as the game ended.
"If you're asking me, I think it was turnover. Everybody in the place knew it was, too," Tubbs said. "Play it back 500 times and it's still going to be a turnover. That was critical and you hope the officials have the guts to call it."
Oklahoma (31-6) was the highest-scoring team in the nation during the regular season, averaging 91 points per game.
Asked if his team had been in the 60s at any time during the season, Tubbs said facetiously: "Yeah, at halftime."
Tubbs said that Saturday's game that attracted a sellout crowd of 17,007 and a national-television audience was proof that a 45-second shot clock should be invoked in college basketball, including postseason competition.
"If people are afraid to go up and down the court, they should play in another league," he said. "That's not the way basketball is supposed to be played. I think I'll go to Japan so I can play under international rules."
Kirk said he played the game the way his team needed to play.
"You may not believe it, but I'm an advocate of the shot clock," he said. "You have to do what is best for your team."
So Memphis State of the Metro Conference is going to the Final Four for the first time since 1973, when Gene Bartow was the Tigers' coach.
Oklahoma? The Sooners just have to stay home because teams don't always play the way they want them to play.
"It really hurts," Tisdale said. "Last year we were eliminated in the first round, and this year we've come so far and we're two or three points away."
As for his low output of 11 points, Tisdale said: "We were trying to throw the ball over their big guys, but it didn't work. We had the guts to play man-to-man, but they played a zone."
Kirk said he resorted to a 2-3 zone not only to shut down Tisdale, but also to protect Lee and Bedford, who were in foul trouble.
Lee, an All-American who doesn't always play like one, had three fouls at halftime and was assessed his fourth 7 1/2 minutes into the second half. He played only 27 minutes, but he was a factor.
He scored a game-high 23 points on short-range jump shots. He made only 9 of 22 shots, with several balls rimming the basket before going out.
Lee fouled out four times in Memphis State's last 11 games, and he wasn't involved in his team's 59-57 win over Boston College here Thursday night. He got three quick fouls, was on the bench for the last 15 minutes of the first half and scored only eight points.