- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
In its 93-92 double-overtime victory over Missouri in the Big Eight tournament final in Kansas City, Mo., Oklahoma State required the services of a gym rat and the Rat Patrol. The Patrol was the scrambling, scavenging defense that contained Tiger Center Steve Stipanovich, harassed Mizzou floor leader Jon Sundvold into 6-for-22 shooting and accounted for eight steals, three blocked shots and nine turnovers. The gym rat was sophomore Rick Anderson, a walk-on and erstwhile intramural all-star who was called upon after three Cowboy starters had fouled out. He made the free throw that provided the winning margin. The two players who got Oklahoma State as far as the second OT were seniors Leroy Combs and Lorenza Andrews. Andrews scored two of his 24 points on a sprawling scoop shot that tied the score at the end of the first overtime. Combs finished with 34 points and 11 rebounds.
"Don't ask me how it happened," said TCU Coach Jim Killingsworth after his Horned Frogs' 61-59 overtime win over Arkansas in the Southwest Conference semifinals. "We were just ahead when the gun went off." So ended the Razorbacks' hope for a rematch with Houston in the finals as well as the Frogs' 25-game record of futility against the Hogs. Doug Arnold led TCU, scoring 10 consecutive points, including the tying basket with 17 seconds remaining, during the Frogs' comeback from a 51-40 second-half deficit.
In spite of colds that afflicted half the team, including Coach Guy Lewis, Houston beat SMU 75-59 and Killer's Frogs 62-59. But the Cougars' performance in the final was something to sneeze at. They sank only eight of 22 free throws and bungled seven of nine one-and-one opportunities in the final five minutes. "I think our guys were waiting for the NCAAs," said Cougar Forward Larry (Mr. Mean) Micheaux. "I hope our intensity builds, because this scares me." He suggested that a hazing might be in order for the brothers of Phi Slamma Jamma. "I'll take 'em in the locker room and tell 'em; if they don't get the intensity started, I'll beat 'em all up." Thank you, Mr. Mean. We needed that.
Illinois State Forward Hank Cornley had some victims on his mind, too, before the Redbirds hosted the Missouri Valley Conference tournament final, but they weren't his teammates. "We want to attack and attack and attack," he said, "and then stomp on 'em until they fold." Woe be to weary Tulsa, which arrived in Normal after an eight-hour journey from a semifinal game with New Mexico State and then tried to throw a full-court press at the Redbirds. Rickie Johnson scored a career-high 22 points in an 84-64 Illinois State stomp.
It's still not clear why Southland Conference officials, after deciding to hold their tournament in Beaumont, Texas, even bothered to play the games. Host Lamar had won 66 straight in the Beaumont Civic Center. The Cards ran that streak to 68 with wins over Arkansas State and North Texas State. Guard Lamont Robinson's 24 points in the final, a 75-54 victory over the Mean Green, earned him co-MVP honors with North Texas' Kenneth Lyons. Robinson's teammate Kenneth Perkins held Lyons to 15 points in the final. The victories gave Lamar its fifth Southland title in six years and fourth NCAA berth in the past five. Spots in the NCAA preliminary round also went to SWAC champion Alcorn State, which didn't win by fewer than 12 points in three tournament games; Georgia Southern, which didn't win by more than three points in its three games in the Trans America tournament; and Xavier, which beat Loyola of Chicago 82-76 for the Midwestern City Conference title.
The NCAA had slim pickings for independents; only Southwestern Louisiana and Marquette earned at-large berths. The NIT, on the other hand, took in four: South Carolina, New Orleans, Notre Dame and DePaul.
It was UCLA's first Pac-10 title in four years, but, admitted Michael Holton, the Bruins' captain, "It was an awful way to win our first championship." When Holton and his teammates took the Pauley Pavilion floor for their season ender against Arizona State, they already knew that Washington had upset second-place Washington State 76-75 to present the Bruins with the conference crown. Appropriately, the Bruins played as if they had nothing to gain. The Sun Devils went into a stall with the score tied 76-76 and 2½ minutes left and had run off all but 14 seconds, when Arizona State Forward Paul Williams scored on a driving layup for the final two of his 27 points. When UCLA's Darren Daye missed a short jumper eight seconds later, the Sun Devils had a 78-76 victory. Earlier, UCLA had wiped its fast-breaking feet on conference doormat Arizona 111-58, but then allowed Washington State a chance to tie for the title by losing 70-68 when the Cougars' Bryan Pollard tipped in the ball with no time left.
Upon hearing the chants of "We want Fresno, we want Fresno" from UNLV fans after his Runnin' Rebels had scored a 67-64 semifinal win over Long Beach State in the PCAA tournament. Coach Jerry Tarkanian said, "I'm not sure I want Fresno." His anxiety was justified. The Bulldogs, with the nation's staunchest defense, which was giving up an average of 53.2 points, led Vegas 23-6 midway through the first half and 37-28 at the break. But Tarkanian's son Danny threw in a three-pointer with 33 seconds left in regulation to force overtime, and Eric Booker, a refugee from the University of San Francisco, nailed another three-pointer at the OT buzzer to give the Rebels a 66-63 victory. It was the sixth time this season that UNLV had rallied to win after falling behind 12 points or more, and the second time the Rebels had made up a 17-point deficit. UNLV Forward Sidney (El Sid) Green, who'd begun the week in a Vegas hospital with bronchitis, had 31 points and nine rebounds in UNLV's 74-67 tourney-opening win over Pacific on Thursday night, 20 points and 14 rebounds against Long Beach Friday night and 23 points and 11 rebounds in the final.