week in MU basketball
by Ray Speckman
Last week was a busy one for basketball activity at MUs
Hearnes Center. The action began on Tuesday and after
a full day of basketball on Saturday, MU came away with
two victories, one loss, and one tie.
The 13th ranked mens team trounced Centenary on
Tuesday and won the Big XII conference opener against
Baylor on Saturday. The Lady Tigers, on the other hand,
lost to the 20th ranked Texas Longhorns Saturday afternoon.
And the tie? Well, there was an alumni game Saturday
afternoon where stalwarts of the past showed that glories
of the past remain mostly in the recesses of the mind.
Here are notes from a week of roundball in Columbia:
where is Centenary located and what is
the team nickname?
*If that seems easy for you then what is the name of
the most notable basketball player to ever play at the
Methodist school, the smallest (888 students) in NCAA
Division one? A hint: He played on the Boston Celtic Championship
teams in the 1980s.
*Centenary will become part of the Mid-America Conference
(which also includes UMKC Kangaroos) next year. It is
also the oldest 4-year-old college west of the Mississippi.
*Missouri picked on the Gents (Thats short for
Gentlemen and the nickname of the school) who came into
Columbia with a 5-8 record and took on the Tigers with
only two starters over 6-5.
*There was one standout player on the Gents, 6-2 junior
guard from Staten Island, NY, Andrew Wisniewski.
*Going into the game with the Shreveport, Louisiana school,
MU forward Ricky Paulding was 4th leading scorer in the
Big XII conference with 18.7 points per game.
*There was a sparse crowd at the beginning of the Centenary
game and late arrivals failed to see the initial scoring
outburst of the Tigers as the host team lead 34-15 at
the ten-minute mark of the first period.
*It looked like a blowout. Missouri never completely
put the frisky Gents away and they hung around within
striking distance before pulling away for an 88-58 victory.
*Kevin Young, 6-9 and 270 pounds, a freshman from Jamaica,
excited newly re-signed MU coach Quin Snyder with several
*Arthur Johnson, MUs center, worked during the
game on a soft running jump shot from around the basket.
He showed good touch but had trouble with the shot dropping
and finished with only 10 points for the game.
*Darn the MU Golden Girls and cheerleaders look young.
*The Lady Tigers (6-6) gave the Longhorns from Texas
a very good game Saturday afternoon before dropping a
70-59 decision. Attendance was a pretty good
2002, according to MU Assistant Sports Information guru,
*The distaff game featured tenacious defense and great
ball handling by both teams with Missouri pulling even
with 3:25 left before the Lady Longhorns went on a 18-7
run at the end of the game to win going away.
*As in all games, the MU Pep games entertained with such
tunes as Missouri Waltz, Eye of the Tiger and the Mizzou
*Following the Lady Tiger game, 10 of the MU basketball
alumni who returned with about 40 more of their fellow
Bballers for a reunion of sort, played a 30 minute exhibition
*The five on five encounter featured such past stalwarts
as John Brown and Julian Winfield. The game started ambitiously
enough but shortly into the game there was a lot of three
on three as players stayed back on defense and offense,
resting weary lungs, bent over, hands on their knees.
*The alum showed remnants of past glories with good hands
but also soft bellies, tiring legs and shortness of breath.
*The PA announcer was MU color-commentator and former
Tiger Gary Link, who chided his contemporaries with wise
cracks during the two 15 minute halves.
*Mercifully, the clock ran on all time outs and out of
*The game ended with the Silver team led
by Bradd Sutton with 27 points whipping up on the Gold
team, 75-60. Winfield was high scorer for the Gold with
*At half time of the Missouri-Baylor game that followed,
those exhausted players and a total of 50 returning athletes
were introduced to the crowd. There were players present
from seven decades.
*The wrap-up for the week was the Tiger-Baylor Bears
game. Baylor came into the contest with an 9-2 record
under third-year head coach Dave Bliss, whose resume
includes coaching stints at New Mexico, SMU, and Oklahoma.
*R. T. Guinn, Baylors 6-10 Junior Center and Ricky
Clemons traded three point shots to begin the game the
things were off and running. Guinn was hurt soon thereafter
and did not return to the game.
*An indication of what could be a night of balanced scoring
for the Tigers was surfacing as the first four scores
were by four different players.
*Jimmy McKinney, MUs prized freshman shooting guard
from St. Louis, made a lot of offensive mistakes and with
13:47 left in the first period, Coach Snyder pulled his
prodigy quickly, talked to him a few seconds on the sideline
and then unceremoniously handed him over to an assistant
who took a chalk board. Draw him a picture!
was the evident statement by new father Snyder, armed
with a $1 million contract extension.
*Two minutes later, the lesson explained, McKinney reentered
*Arthur Johnson, having abandoned his soft touch approach
he used in the Centenary game became aggressive, pounding
the boards for rebounds and fighting for shots close in.
*New MU president Elson S. Floyd was introduced to the
crown of 13,411 during a timeout. He was escorted to center
court by MU Athletic Director Mike Alden and received
a warm welcome, after which he sprinted to
the student section to give high-fives to cheering students.
*As the 50 alums lined up in the tunnel to be introduced
at half-time MU held on to a ten point lead, 35-25.
*Baylor showed weakness on D the entire evening. There
was no evidence of their defense that had held opponents
to a .386 shooting percentage in the previous games this
*Quin Snyders record is 41-27 in night games and
43-9 in home games during his tenure at MU.
*Another Snyder stat: Good coaches win close games.???
Well, Snyder is 16-18 in games where the deciding margin
was five points or less.
*In one short sentence, this game was decided by the
play of Arthur Johnson who scored a personal high of 30
points and dominated the boards with 15 rebounds (6 offensive).
*MU continued to lack a killer-instinct.
As did Centenary earlier in the week, the Bears from Baylor
continued to hang around within striking distance and
pulled within three points, 72-69 with 1:20 left in the
*Arthur Johnson put the game away with a crowd-pleasing
dunk that brought the spectators to their feet and registered
over 100 on the decibel meter in the 31-year-old Hearnes
*The new $75 million basketball arena will be completed
in 2004. If you want to follow the progress, there is
a 24/7 live cam of the construction area. <http://ath.missouri.edu/arena/>
*Coach Snyder announced that reserve Najeeb Echols would
leave the team immediately to be closer to his family.
Echols is a native of the Chicago area.
*Robert Parrish of the Celts is a graduate of Centenary.
Another sports-notable alum of the school is golfer Hal