Thursday, March 8, 2007

1993-94 Redux: Missouri 80, Colorado 72

I just want to welcome trripleplay to Mizzou Sanity. Nice first post. And meanwhile, The Beef and I are on Beer #14, and we haven't gotten to the hotel yet. This is bad news.

Meanwhile, Donnie Boyce at Michigan? Yikes. And here we get the blog’s first Mack Tuck reference!

January 15, 1994

of the Tribune's staff

Despite its elevated Rocky Mountain setting, Colorado has spent most of the last 15 years looking up at the rest of the Big Eight, at least in men's basketball.

The Buffaloes, who play Missouri at 8 tonight in Boulder, have finished eighth in seven of the last eight years and 11 of the last 16. Joe Harrington, now in his fourth season, is the fourth Colorado coach in that span.

Harrington's first season broke the Buffaloes' rut of five consecutive last-place finishes when they tied for sixth with a 5-9 record in 1990-91. Colorado went 19-14 that year and finished third in the National Invitation Tournament, its only postseason bid since 1969, the year of its last Big Eight championship.

The Buffaloes record, conference and overall, has declined each of the last two years, and they've taken a new lease on last.

The toughest part of this season has not been on the court. The holiday break was hardly festive at CU.

“We've had a lot of different things happen,” Harrington said. “It just doesn't ever seem to get smooth for us.”

Freshman guard Fred Edmonds took an elbow to the chest in practice and was unable to catch his breath. Paramedics were summoned for fear Edmonds' heart had stopped, but he checked out OK and has played in all 11 games.

Just now checking back in is redshirt freshman Rich Frandeen, who suffered a third-degree concussion in practice Dec. 29. Frandeen took a tumbling fall to the floor. Blood spurting from his head made it a frightening scene.

Frandeen returned to action Wednesday night, playing three minutes in an 84-76 victory over Missouri-Kansas City.

Harrington dismissed redshirt freshman Dameon Page, 6-foot-5 guard who had been the most touted of Colorado's recruits the last two years. “Let's just say that it wasn't working out for him to get more playing time,” Harrington said. “It was a hard thing for me to do, to dismiss him. I can just tell you that he was mostly upset with his playing time.”

Guard Mack Tuck, who was playing the most minutes of this year's newcomers, is now academically ineligible.

A la Dan Devine on the subject of then-Missouri football coach Bob Stull last year, Colorado athletic director Bill Marolt has said that Harrington will be back next year for the fifth and final year of his contract. On that note, Rocky Mountain News writer Bob Kravitz referred to Harrington, an avid golfer, as “Bob Stull with a low handicap,” during the football season.

Harrington is trying to glimpse the green from the Buff rough. “I'm not at all discouraged,” he said.

“It's not an easy job, and no one said it was when I came here three or four years ago.

“We're not going backwards, I'll tell you that.”

Guard Donnie Boyce, an All-Big Eight selection, is back as Colorado's leading scorer after talking about transferring to Michigan over the summer.

“He can't do it by himself,” Harrington said. “We have to have other guys help him.”

Mark Dean, CU's only senior, has been a big plus after missing all but 64 minutes last season because of a knee injury. “He's back to where he was,” Harrington said.

Maybe a little better. Dean, a Bahamian, was improving during his junior season as the Buffs' sixth man. Currently he's averaging 17.4 points and tied for the Big Eight leadership in rebounding with Oklahoma State's Bryant Reeves and Iowa State's Loren Meyer at 9.5 per game. He had 25 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday against UMKC.

Tonight, the Buffaloes play their Big Eight home opener. Missouri (10-2, 1-0) swept the Buffaloes (6-5, 0-1) last season. The Tigers had their new No. 25 ranking tattered at Notre Dame on Wednesday.

“I think they'll be hungry Tigers,” Harrington said. “I just think they'll be riled up because they've lost a game. Norm Stewart doesn't like to lose. I'm sure they've had two hellacious practices.”
January 16, 1994.

of the Tribune's staff

Experience counts for something, a large part of Missouri's 80-72 victory at Colorado last night. Three of the Tigers' eight seniors seized control in the closing minutes as the Tigers wiped out a 10-point second-half deficit to put the game away.

Melvin Booker, Lamont Frazier and Mark Atkins supplied the necessary ingredients the Tigers (11-2, 2-0 Big Eight) lacked in the first 25 minutes -- offense defense and steadiness.

Donnie Boyce, who finished with a game high 30 points, put the Buffaloes up 48-38 with 15:31 to play before a season high crowd of 4,286 at the Coors Events Center.

Booker hit a three-pointer, then Atkins put in a pair of his own and bang-bang-bang, in a span of 1:27, it was 48-47.

"We were down 10, now we're down one," Stewart said.

It wasn't all seniors. Freshman Kelly Thames bounced back from a scoreless game in Wednesday's loss to Notre Dame with 15 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

"He had nine boards at half," Stewart said. "He was our only rebounder at half."

Jevon Crudup picked up four fouls, which helped limit him to 23 minutes.

Booker gave Missouri the lead for good with a three-pointer with 6:42 left. It broke a tie at 62. It also tied Booker for Missouri's career three point leadership with Lee Coward. Both have made 146. Booker led Missouri with 27 points.

"I shot it well in the first half," Booker said. "Mark shot it well in the second half.

All of Atkins' six field goal attempts were three-pointers. He made four.

Atkins' bombardment seemed to spark the Tigers and stun the Buffaloes (6-6, 0-2).

When he brought the Tigers within 48-47, Colorado coach Joe Harrington called a timeout with 12:20 left.

His third three-pointer of the second half gave Missouri a 59-54 lead.

Colorado used its third and final timeout of the half with 5:10 left, 14 seconds after it had called its second when Kirk Williams was trapped with the ball.

"They're very established," Harrington said. "They've got a deep bench, and we knew that coming into the game. They just wore us down."

Then they sealed the victory with some veteran play.

Frazier stole the ball, passed it to Booker and got it back, going in for a three-point play and 71-64 lead with 3:19 to play.

Boyce twice cut it to five, the last time with 50 seconds left, but Missouri held on. Again.

The Tigers played through another sluggish first half. Stewart ran 12 players in and out. They accounted for 12 fouls.

"They were breaking us down, and then we're fouling," Stewart said.

Boyce's 16 first-half points propelled Colorado to a 35-32 lead.

Booker's three-point touch kept the Tigers that close. He hit three in the half.