Thursday, March 15, 2007

1993-94 Redux: Missouri 104, Oklahoma 94

(I was at this game! It’s funny...I was such a fan of Mark Atkins that, 12 years later, I remember him scoring 24, and I can picture just about every single 3 that he made...and yet I had no recollection whatsoever of Jevon Crudup racking up 25 and 15. You could have told me had 1 and 0, and I would have believed you.)

February 5, 1994

of the Tribune's staff

Pre-heat the gymnasium: It's Missouri vs. Oklahoma.

The Tigers had the heat turned up in their practice gym to simulate conditions at Lloyd Noble Center, where the visitor has been known to sweat through a game with the Sooners.

They're coming in hot. Missouri is 6-0 in the Big Eight. It's completing the first circuit of conference play today.

Tiger senior guard Lamont Frazier dismisses the cranked-up thermostats. “I've heard about it ever since I've been here,” Frazier said. It's all an OU mind game, Frazier reckons.

“If you let it get to you, that's the ballgame,” he said. “It doesn't seem any hotter there than it does here.”

Frazier and his teammates are intent about not melting at Oklahoma (12-5, 3-2). Having eight seniors is a big difference Frazier cites between this season and last, when the Tigers finished seventh in the conference at 5-9.

“We have eight guys that last year were juniors,” he said. “I don't think it was as important to us as it is now.

“The thing you remember most is that this is the last time. I think that's the thing that stands out more than anything else. When you get close to the end, that's when things become a little more personal, when you take things a little more serious than you did.”

All those seniors make the Tigers sound like Golden Guys on a nostalgia trip.

“Each time we go to someone else's gym,” Frazier said, “that's the first thing we say: `Look, for some of us, this is the last time here. For those that are not, we want you to play as if it was.'

“That right there in itself creates enough adrenaline, that gets you fired up enough to want to go out and win.”

The Sooners have been hot and cold, not always to a warm reception here.

A sellout crowd of 11,709 came to the Oklahoma State game, in what's known as the “Bedlam Series.” The Cowboys won 105-89.

The Sooners have won four of their last five and have a three-game winning streak in the Big Eight. Forward Jeff Webster, the Big Eight's leading scorer, had 44 points Wednesday against Southern Methodist in OU's 93-86 victory.

Less than 7,000 attended that game. “There's no telling about how our fans are going to react,” sophomore forward Ryan Minor said. “We're just going to have to wait until game time to find out.

“I think there'll be a good crowd. They love getting on Norm, Coach Stewart.”

After the SMU game, in which the Mustangs had a second-half comeback, OU coach Billy Tubbs said the Sooners don't seem to get excited about playing anybody.

“He's really down on us now because we can't rebound,” Minor said.

The Sooners have been outrebounded, an average of four per game, their last three games.

“He doesn't like the way we come out and not play,” Minor said of Tubbs. “If he's really pumped for a game, the players will be pumped for a game. Right now, he's excited because Missouri is first in the conference, and this gives us a chance to get back in it.”

Next up for the Sooners is a trip to Stillwater for a “Big Monday” dose of Bedlam.

“I don't think there's going to be anybody looking past Missouri, because they're first in the conference,” Minor said.

Most of the seniors were here two years ago when Missouri ended a streak of nine losses at Norman. They're back for more.

“We know this is the last game before the second half,” Frazier said. “For us to win this would really put us in a great position to do what we want to do.”

Missouri is the only Big Eight team still undefeated at home.

“I've never seen the Big Eight like this in my years growing up watching it and playing in it,” Minor said. “I think in the second half of the season, it's going to be a lot tougher for the road team.”


MISSOURI (15-2, 6-0)
No. Player Yr. P Ht. Ppg.
15 Melvin Booker Sr. G 6-2 18.2
13 Julian Winfield So. G 6-5 5.2
22 Lamont Frazier Sr. G 6-4 7.9
33 Kelly Thames Fr. F 6-7 11.5
0 Jevon Crudup Sr. C 6-9 13.4

OKLAHOMA (12-5, 3-2)
No. Player Yr. P Ht. Ppg.
10 John Ontjes Jr. G 6-0 9.6
20 Pete Lewis Sr. G 6-3 5.9
32 Jeff Webster Sr. F 6-8 24.4
12 Ryan Minor So. F 6-7 16.5
30 Ken Conley Sr. C 6-8 12.4
February 6, 1994

of the Tribune's staff

If Missouri finishes the Big Eight race the way it finished off Oklahoma yesterday at Lloyd Noble Center, it will storm to the conference title.

The Tigers, ranked 20th in the current Associated Press poll, came away with a 104-94 victory over the Sooners (12-6, 3-3) and a 7-0 record in the Big Eight.

Mark Atkins hit his seventh three-pointer, tying his own MU single-game record, with 2:08 left to give Missouri a 92-89 lead. The Tigers then scored the next 10 points. Missouri (16-2) made all 10 of its free throws in the final 1:35.

That barrage made the Tigers 30 of 45 for the game.

“We made our shots at the last and made our free throws,” coach Norm Stewart said. “If we'd made our free throws throughout the ballgame, I think we would have been in better shape.”

Instead, the Tigers were in an Oklahoma shootout featuring Atkins and the Sooners' Calvin Curry as the trick-shooters.

Both came off the bench to make four three-pointers in the first half. MU made 12 of 23 for the game.

“This was my type of game,” Atkins said. “I like the run-and-gun play.”

The Sooners had their series of runs, but they ended up outgunned by the Tigers. Curry and Ken Conley led a quintet of Sooners in double figures. Each had 19 points.

Missouri center Jevon Crudup had game highs in points, 25, rebounds, 15, and he made nine of his 10 free throws.

Atkins finished with 24, Paul O'Liney with 20, also off the bench, and Melvin Booker with 18 for the Tigers.

Crudup picked up his fourth foul with 8:55 left and the game tied at 75. He went out 13 seconds later after making two free throws to put Missouri up 77-76. Stewart put him back in with 7:11 left after OU jumped up 82-77. Crudup stayed in the rest of the way, without shying away from guarding Conley, OU's center, who had given Oklahoma the lead with a short jumper.

“To be honest, I didn't change,” Crudup said. “We've got people on the bench that can come in and play just like I can. It wasn't a real big issue if I'd fouled out.”

Conley had one hot spell, as did Curry. The 6-foot-7 junior college transfer roused the Sooners, who trailed 30-20 when he started firing away with 8:52 left in the first half. Missouri later led 36-25. The fourth and most distant of Curry's three-pointers brought the Sooners within 44-41 with 3:18 left in the half.

“Curry's out there pushing off the front row of the bleachers, making them,” Stewart said.

Guard John Ontjes' three-pointer gave Oklahoma its 52-49 halftime lead.

“I thought the first half that we really played well until the time that we started playing their way,” Stewart said. “Even at that, we were three down at halftime.”

It worked for a while. Booker's three-pointer peaked MU's first-half lead at 36-25.

Atkins' first shot brought Missouri within 18-17. The next put the Tigers up 20-18. Then he gave Missouri leads of 25-18 and 28-20.

His four three-pointers were packed into less than two minutes of game time, during which the Sooners were shockingly slow to get on him.

“In the first half, where we got down defensively, we went brain dead,” OU coach Billy Tubbs said. “Let's just face it. We had a hard time getting people into positions where they were supposed to be. We just had big-time breakdowns.”

Conley, who is playing with a fracture in his left index finger, shouldered Oklahoma's scoring load in the second half with 16 points.

Missouri had its highest-scoring halves, both first and second, of the season.

The Sooners couldn't keep pace at the end.

“We did a better job defensively,” Stewart said. “It's a little different shooting at the last at times than it is at the first.”

OU forward Jeff Webster, the Big Eight's leading scorer, didn't find it easy either time. Webster, who scored a career-high 44 points Wednesday against Southern Methodist, had six. He was three for 13 from the field and did not go to the free throw line.

Stewart credited the combination of defenders led by Lamont Frazier.

“I thought Lamont and everybody we had covering him did a good job,” Stewart said.