Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Four Score Twenty or More

No, this isn't about the Gettysburg Address. It's about one of my favorite Mizzou hoops statistical anomalies.

Recently, while doing research for a radio appearance, I rediscovered one of my favorite pieces of Tiger arcana. Twice during the 1989-90 season, the same four Tiger players - Doug Smith, Anthony Peeler, Lee Coward and Nathan Buntin - each scored twenty or more points in the same game. It happened first in Lincoln, Nebraska, on January 13, when Smith scored 31 points, followed by 29 from Peeler and 21 each from Coward and Buntin in a 111-95 win over the Cornhuskers. Exactly one week later, the fourth-ranked Tigers beat top-rated Kansas, 95-87, as Peeler scored 24, Smith tallied 23, Buntin contributed 22, and Coward added 20. I doubt that this was the only time the feat was achieved in major conference Division I basketball, but I also doubt that it has happened often.

Even rarer, perhaps, is the feat an earlier group of Tigers pulled off against a North Carolina team led by Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins. On November 26, 1983, five different Tigers scored in double figures in a 64-57 loss to the top-ranked Tar Heels. Think about that: Five players in double figures, 57 total points. Malcolm Thomas, Blake Wortham and Prince Bridges each scored 11 points, while Greg Cavener and Ron Jones chipped in 10 apiece (Mark Sparks and Ted Mimlitz each scored two). I'm willing to wager that that's the lowest-ever total output by a Division I team with at least five players in double figures.

If anyone from the Elias Sports Bureau is reading, call me.