Monday, February 26, 2007

1993-94 Redux: Arkansas 120, Missouri 68


December 3, 1993: Hogtied

of the Tribune's staff

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. The Dedication Game at Bud Walton Arena will be long remembered not only in Arkansas, but in Missouri.

For the Tigers (1-1), last night's 120-68 loss was the worst margin of defeat in the program's history.

“I'm trying to forget it already,” senior guard Melvin Booker said. “That's not Missouri ball.”

At least not like it's ever been before.

The 52-point loss topped the previous record drubbing, 47 points 96-49 to Kansas in the Big Eight holiday tournament on Dec. 28, 1977. The 120-point total tied the most ever scored on Missouri, matching Oklahoma in the Sooners' 120-101 victory at Norman in 1988. The Razorbacks' 75 second-half points shattered a three-way tie for most opponents' points in a half. Indiana in 1969, Virginia Tech in 1987 and the Sooners in that '88 game, all poured in 62.

“Losses like that are hard,” Missouri coach Norm Stewart said. “Losses like that are real hard. They're hard on everybody.”

Competitively, it was over quickly.

Dwight Stewart, a 6-foot-9, 260-pound center opened the scoring with a three-pointer, the first of seven in the first half and a school-record 16 for Arkansas (2-0). Missouri got to within 5-4, then lost contact after Kelly Thames put in an offensive rebound with 15:27 left in the half, drawing Missouri within 11-9. Five minutes later, Arkansas led 27-11.

The Razorbacks built their lead to 23 points, 38-15 at the 5:14 mark, then leveled off to take a 45-22 lead into the locker room.

“We missed six layups that I counted, we might have missed more than that,” Stewart said. “You make those six layups and at least you go in at the half and you've got something to talk about besides fighting over the oranges.”

The Razorbacks, looking well worth their No. 2 ranking, kept peeling and squeezing in the second half. The final margin was their biggest lead of the night. It came on a putback by walk-on John Engskov. He was the 14th Razorback to score.

Scotty Thurman, who scored his career-high 34 points as a freshman in Arkansas' 73-68 victory last year at the Hearnes Center, led the Hogs with 18
points, four three-pointers and 21 minutes.

Arkansas' 16 threes were also a record for a Missouri opponent. Arkansas shot a better percentage from three-point range than it did two-point distance or the free throw line.

Seven Razorbacks scored in double figures. Chris Heller led the Tigers with 11 points.

Stewart also cleared his bench.

“Once that started and it really opened up, we started just using people that we wanted to see play and give some opportunities, too,” Stewart said. “Then you go completely out of control as far as the score is concerned.”

The Tigers fed the Hogs 27 turnovers.

“You've got to give credit where credit is due,” Jevon Crudup said. “They got in, and they pushed and they pushed and they pushed.”

Although the arena, with an official capacity of 19,200, had already opened with a 93-67 victory over Murray State on Monday, last night was the dedication, and 20,212 is now the record.

Stewart was 5-0 in the old Barnhill Arena.

“We won't play that good again,” Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson said. “Missouri was not a very good basketball team tonight, but I think they will

“Sometimes the buzzsaw hits you.”

Stewart's workshop will be busy trying refit the pieces. “I told Nolan they're really good,” he said. “I couldn't tell tonight how good they are because we're not very good right now.

“We didn't give them much of a ballgame.”

Just about anybody who wanted one has a tape to prove it. The game was seen throughout the nation on ESPN.

“Oh yeah, I knew that,” Booker said. “Now I'm scared to call home.”
December 3, 1993

of the Tribune's staff

Twenty-two minutes in front of judge Jodie Asel yesterday cleared the way for Jevon Crudup to play for eight minutes in Missouri's humiliating loss to Arkansas last night.

As the Tigers' charter airplane to Fayetteville waited at Columbia Regional Airport, Asel was declaring Crudup guilty of driving with elevated blood alcohol levels and failing to keep his car in the right-hand lane.

Kevin Regan, Crudup's Kansas City attorney, said the MU senior wanted to “put the matter behind him so he could return his concentration to studies for his double major and return his concentration to his basketball endeavors.”

After the guilty verdict, Tiger basketball coach Norm Stewart lifted Crudup's suspension from play. Crudup couldn't, however, leave the episode in Columbia. When he walked onto the basketball court last night, Crudup was greeted with taunts of “think before you drink.”

Crudup, Missouri's second leading scorer last year, scored six points during the worst loss in Missouri history, 120-68.

The hastily arranged hearing didn't put an end to all of Crudup's legal troubles. Under state law, he faces a 30-day suspension of his driver's license because of the alcohol arrest. He delayed that suspension by requesting a hearing before the state Department of Revenue.

Regan said Crudup intends to “litigate fully” the license suspension.

Crudup maintained his innocence before Asel, but Regan did nothing to dispute the evidence against Crudup. Asel termed that “a very unusual way to proceed” before pronouncing sentence.

Regan said Crudup was, in essence, pleading no contest to the charge, but such a plea is not allowed in Boone County.

Asel fined Crudup $300 and sentenced him to 15 days in jail. The jail term was suspended, and Crudup was given two years of unsupervised probation. He must also complete a program for alcohol-related traffic offenses and a program of meetings with victims of intoxicated drivers.

In October, Crudup was in municipal court, where he was found guilty of disturbing the peace. He paid $44 in fines and court costs for that offense.

Assistant prosecutor Eva Sterner said Crudup was treated no differently than any other offender in a hurry to get a case concluded.

“We often plead people, especially those facing a jury trial, on days other than the scheduled pretrial hearing.”

Crudup's case had been scheduled for a Monday hearing on pretrial motions, with a jury trail set for Wednesday.

Sterner said she did not help speed things along to make Crudup available to play. She said she “did not learn about that till yesterday afternoon. I was told by Kevin Regan that” playing in the Arkansas game “would be an unexpected bonus.”

Regan first approached her Wednesday about resolving the case, Sterner said. When arrangements couldn't be made, she said, the hearing was set for yesterday.

The alcohol charge stemmed from Crudup's Sept. 7 arrest on Interstate 70 by a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper. His blood alcohol level at the time registered .12 percent, Regan said.

An initial charge of driving while intoxicated was reduced to driving with elevated blood alcohol, Sterner said, because it would have been too difficult to convince a jury that Crudup was intoxicated.