Monday, March 19, 2007

1993-94 Redux: Missouri 79, Iowa State 72 (OT)

(After dominating the first half of the Big 8 schedule, Mizzou was starting to hit a rougher patch...they snuck by OSU at home, then took ISU in OT on the road...)

February 13, 1994


At 9-0, Missouri is off to its best start in conference play since 1922. That makes it the Tigers' best start in Big Eight history.

In '22, they weren't in the Big Eight or even the Big Seven or Big Six.

It was in the Missouri Valley, where the Tigers competed from 1908-28.

“That's even before my time,” Norm Stewart, now in his 27th season as MU coach, said. “Barely.”

The Tigers, coached by Craig Ruby, tied Phog Allen's Kansas Jayhawks for the Missouri Valley title at 15-1 that season. It was the fourth Missouri Valley title in five years for the Tigers.

Ruby, captain of 1919-20 team, coached for two seasons and had a 33-2 record.

Missouri started 13-0 in 1921-22, 12-0 in the Missouri Valley. Kansas broke the streak with a 26-16 victory at Columbia.

The Missouri Valley was then a nine-team league with MU, KU, Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Drake, Grinnell and Washington University of St. Louis.

The six state schools formed the Big Six, which played its first basketball season in 1928-29. Colorado made it the Big Seven in 1948 and Oklahoma State the Big Eight in 1958.
February 17, 1994


AMES, Iowa -- Missouri scored an imperfect 10 last night at Hilton Coliseum. The Tigers made it past Iowa State and their own mistakes to go 10-0 in Big Eight play.

Missouri (19-2), ranked 12th nationally, overcame a sputtering performance to win 79-72 in overtime.

The Tigers trailed 26-14 with 7:12 left before halftime. Melvin Booker used a four-letter word to describe the Tigers' start.

“We came out flat, real flat,” Booker said. Flat turned to smooth in overtime, when Missouri outscored Iowa State (11-10, 1-8) 14-7, and the Tigers could breathe somewhat easily when Jevon Crudup hit two free throws for a 77-72 lead with 37 seconds left.

First the Tigers had to work through some serious problems -- 13 first-half turnovers and an assortment of missed layups.

“We missed a lot of layups” Missouri coach Norm Stewart said. “I don't know how many we missed point-blank.” Missouri had the same problem here last year -- trailed 27-15 at halftime and lost 65-50.

This year, the Tigers managed a major cleanup in the first half, outscoring the Cyclones 17-5 in the final six and a half minutes before Jason Kimbrough made the last basket. Missouri led 34-33 at halftime.

Guard Paul O'Liney not only provided the spark, he gathered the kindling.

O'Liney's first points came on a three-pointer with 1:28 left in the half. Then he stole the ball and took it in for a dunk and a 32-31 MU lead.

Kelly Thames then took the ball from Kimbrough at midcourt and went in for a dunk.

Until then, the Tigers were hanging in on the back of Thames, who had 13 points on six-of-seven shooting from the field. The freshman from Jennings led all scorers with a career-high 24.

“I thought we took the ballgame over right before the half when we had the two or three steals, even though they came back and had the run in the second half,” Stewart said.

“That gave them the thought and gave our guys the thought that we might win the ballgame.”

The Cyclones weren't pondering it when they regained the lead with the first basket of the second half on a three-pointer by freshman Derrick Hayes and swiftly went up 44-36 in less than four minutes.

The lead dwindled. Thames twice put Missouri in a tie with midrange jump shots.

Booker, who struggled more than he has in any game this season, found the range with a three-pointer that gave Missouri a 60-59 lead. The Tigers never trailed after that, but the Cyclones tied it three times in regulation and three times in overtime, the last at 69 with 2:20 to play.

Booker needed an overtime basket, the one that put Missouri ahead to stay at 71-69 with 1:56 left, to score 11 points. That extended Booker's streak of consecutive games scoring in double figures to 26.

“They did a good job on him,” Stewart said. “He's tried to put the ball where we need it, and he's trying to play good defense, even though he's struggling a bit.”

The Cyclones couldn't get the ball where they needed it at the end of regulation.

With 1:25 left, Thames made the first of two free throws to give Missouri a 63-62 lead. Iowa State coach Johnny Orr then called time out.

Thames missed the second, but Lamont Frazier tipped it in for a 65-62 lead. Fred Hoiberg, who led Iowa State with 22 points, hit a three-pointer to tie with 55 seconds left.

Iowa State had the last shot. Kimbrough missed an outside jumper with about four seconds left. The rebound went to Saun Jackson. Crudup contested his putback attempt, and the ball went out of bounds as time ran out.

Iowa State coach Johnny Orr's post-game comments were short. “I don't have much to say,” Orr said. “If I said what I want to say, I would get fined and suspended so I won't say anything.”

Orr then countermanded that statement.

“Saun was fouled on his shot at the end of the ballgame,” Orr said.

Hoiberg and 6-foot-11 Julius Michalik were a combined 17 for 32 from the field. Hoiberg, who played all 45 minutes, made four of nine three-point shots. The rest of the Cyclones were 12 for 44. Starting guards Kimbrough and Hayes, both freshmen, were six for 28.

“We didn't play our best,” Booker said. “We had some good spurts there every now and then.

“We just had to fight our way back up. We did a good job of doing it.”

The victory, coupled with Kansas' loss at Oklahoma State last night, gives the Tigers a 31/2-game Big Eight lead over the Jayhawks. The two meet Sunday in Lawrence. A victory there would clinch at least a tie for the conference championship for the Tigers and the No. 1 seed in the Big Eight Tournament.
February 17, 1994


AMES, Iowa -- Jevon Crudup was angry. Luckily for those around him on the Hilton Coliseum floor, it was at himself.

Having just missed an open shot underneath the basket that would have given Missouri a four-point lead with less than three minutes to play at Iowa State, Crudup was a picture of self-reproach as he ran to the defensive end of the floor.

Crudup and the Tigers would soon have overtime to work out their frustrations and achieve a 79-72 victory to make it all seem worthwhile.

Crudup was hard on himself. He was also tough on the Cyclones with 20 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.

He made eight of 15 field goals. Most of the misses were agonizingly close.

“Lately, the last week or two, I've been missing some easy shots,” Crudup said. “I don't know what it is, but I'm going to work hard to correct it.

“I'm just feeling kind of funny when I shoot. I don't know what it is. Maybe I'm aiming. I'm not shooting like I've normally been shooting. Maybe it's because I'm trying not to miss it. I've just got to get out and play. I can't worry about missing a shot. Then I won't miss it.”

In overtime, Crudup outplayed the Cyclones. He scored eight points, one more than Iowa State managed in overtime. He rebounded. Inside was his playground.

He did it all with the four fouls he had since 3:17 remained in regulation, and he did it with little relief. No reserve inside players came off the bench. Crudup played 42 minutes.

With Iowa State center Loren Meyer still out with a broken collarbone, there was no match for Crudup on the Cyclones. But then ISU's Julius Michalik is himself a walking mismatch. There's no one quite like the skinny, 6-foot-11 Slovakian with the soft shot in the Big Eight.

“The way he plays, it's tough guarding him out there,” Crudup said. With five first-half baskets, Michalik made it obvious that someone would have to cover him last night. “He's effective out there for them on the perimeter.”

Crudup was at his most effective in overtime. He won the tip, then scored the first basket. His touch was firm after that near miss.

“I get mad at myself when I miss a shot like that,” Crudup said. “You work on it in practice. You're not supposed to miss those shots.”