HOUSTON - Derrick Rose was not getting stitches.
No way. No how.
You see, Rose has a fear of needles. No, make that a debilitating phobia of them.
He was told he needed as many as four stitches to close up a gash above his right eye after a collision during Memphis' 92-74 win against Michigan State on Friday in the South Region semifinal.
That news ruined any celebration he had in mind after scoring a game-high 27 points despite missing almost eight minutes in the second half dealing with the injury.
Rose came stalking out of the locker room, yelling, ranting and on the verge of tears. He only calmed down when team officials agreed to glue the cut and forget the stitches.
"I'm terrified of needles," he said. "If I would have got stitches, they would have had to stick a needle right above my eye. So I was pouting, stormed out of the locker room. I was mad."
Rose, who is averaging 14 points per game, isn't sure what brought on this fear, but he remembers an event from his childhood that didn't help.
When he was 7, he fell off his bicycle and another child ran over his head with a bike, causing a large wound on the back of his head.
"The nurses at the hospital were holding him down and he was so scared he broke away from them and got up," his mother, Brenda Rose, said in a phone interview. "So they had to tape him to the gurney and do the stitches. He was mad at everyone that day."
Considering his problem, some may find it strange that Rose has five tattoos, some rather elaborate.
"You really never see the needle," he explained. "You just see an object that is going back and forth. With a needle, you've got to look at it and, man, it's totally different."
STOPPING CURRY: Russell Robinson and his Kansas teammates are duly impressed with Davidson shooting star Stephen Curry.
Then again, Russell believes he sees the nation's best guards every time his Jayhawks practice.
"Honestly, I think we have the best backcourt in the country. We can get after it at both ends of the court," he said Saturday. "They're playing really well right now. But I still think we're the best."
Top-seeded Kansas plays 10th-seeded Davidson in today's Midwest Region final at Detroit.
Robinson's second-skin defense helped hold Villanova star Scottie Reynolds to 11 points in Kansas' 72-57 win Friday night. Reynolds was 4-for-13 from the field with four turnovers and no assists.
Meanwhile, Robinson had 15 points and a game-high five assists.
Kansas' Sasha Kaun calls Russell the best defender he's seen.
"He can definitely stop people. And I think he'll do just fine against Curry. He did a phenomenal job against Reynolds. And he has such quick hands, he makes things difficult for other guards," he said.
Robinson knows Curry has scored 103 points in three tournament games, including 77 in the second half. But it could harder for Curry to launch quick 3s with Robinson staying close.
"Curry and Reynolds are similar players," Robinson said. "Reynolds is great handling the ball and getting his shot. Curry is a lot the same way, but Curry has a better supporting cast. That makes him harder to stop."
The Associated Press