OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rodney Carney kept top-seeded Memphis from becoming another victim of Bradley's surprising NCAA run.
Carney contributed on both ends of the floor last night, scoring 23 points and leading a stingy defense that gave Memphis an 80-64 victory and put the Tigers in a regional final for the first time since 1992 -- back when Anfernee Hardaway was the star.
Darius Washington Jr. added 18 points and Shawne Williams had 12 points and eight rebounds as Memphis won the third round of the Oakland Regional, its seventh straight victory.
Carney raised his arms in the air in celebration after a two-handed jam midway through the second half, one of several emphatic dunks by the 6-foot-7-inch forward who was virtually unknown when he first arrived at Memphis.
Now, he is one win from finishing his stellar collegiate career in his hometown of Indianapolis for the Final Four.
Coach John Calipari's young Tigers (33-3), an NIT team last season, advanced to tomorrow's egional final against second-seeded UCLA, which beat No. 3 Gonzaga, 73-71.
Patrick O'Bryant had 11 of his 14 rebounds in the first half and scored only 8 points for Bradley (22-11), which at No. 13 was the lowest seed still alive in the tournament.
The Braves will return home to another heroes' welcome after they put the program on the map and brought national attention to the town of Peoria, Ill., where they play.
The Braves had been the spoiler so far after beating Kansas and Pittsburgh to reach their first regional semifinal since 1955, when it was a 24-team tournament, but they began the second half 4 for 16 and struggled to get open looks at the basket against speedy, aggressive Memphis.