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Mizzou's Regular Season Comes To A Merciful End
Mizzou's Regular Season Comes To A Merciful End
For the Missouri Tiger faithful, this year's basketball season has been a nightmare from hell, complete with a sub 0.500 overall record, the firing of a young coach whose lustre had worn off during the past three seasons and a Big 12 conference finish at #11. Eleventh in the Big 12! Damned near dead last!
And now the process of rebuilding a once-proud basketball program begins again! I'm angry, I'm frustrated and I'm not confident that the current Missouri administration knows what the hell they are doing!
There are only two people in Columbia, MO who know what needs to be done ... Norm Stewart, former Mizzou head coach for 32 glorious seasons, and his former standout point guard, Jon Sunvold, now a Columbia businessman. Stormin' Norm Stewart has not even been asked to participate in the decision making process, although Jon Sunvold has. And this really burns my ass!
From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the following article recounts how the Tigers finished the regular season with a one-pont win against Nebraska at Mizzou Arena.
Now, it will take a highly unlikely miracle at the Big 12 Conference Tournament in Dallas, TX for the Tigers (11 seed) to make it into the NCAA tournament. First, they will need to beat Nebraska (6 seed) again in a first round game scheduled for 8:20 pm Thursday night, then beat Oklahoma (3 seed) on Friday night, a team they did narrowly beat at Norman early in the season, then advance to play Kansas (2 seed) who will likely advance to the semi-final round on Saturday. If by some miracle, they do get to the championship game on Sunday, they would likely be facing Texas (1 seed). The odds of all this happening? About the same as me winning the Powerball Jackpot this weekend!
Gardner, Watkins rally Tigers
By Graham Watson
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Missouri's Thomas Gardner drives past Nebraska's Jason Dourisseau as he heads to basket during the second half in their NCAA basketball game, Sundayin Columbia, Mo. Gardner led all scorers with 23 points.
During the last few games, Missouri has made a habit of snatching defeat from the grasp of victory.
The Tigers would find themselves close to their opponent down the stretch, but splinter in the face of adversity and lose instead of pulling together to edge out a win.
Such was the situation Sunday as the Tigers found themselves down by nine with less than three minutes remaining on senior day at Mizzou Arena, and the prospect of finishing last in the Big 12 for the first time loomed.
But what rallied the Tigers on senior day was the play of juniors Thomas Gardner and Marcus Watkins in the second half, which spurred a 21-11 run in the final 8:30 and gave the Tigers a 64-63 win.
The Tigers avoid finishing last in the conference for the first time since the 1973-74 season - they finished tied for seventh in the Big Eight - and will face Nebraska again in the first round of the Big 12 tournament Thursday. This will be the second consecutive season the two teams have met in the first round of the tournament. Last year, Missouri defeated Nebraska 70-67.
"I didn't want us to lay down, and for a moment there it looked like, 'Well, coach, this may be a hill a little too deep for us,'" Missouri interim coach Melvin Watkins said. "So I kind of raised my voice a little bit to get them to collectively come back because I thought they were beginning to drift off a little bit. And they did. I challenged them, and they responded."
However, the way the Tigers (12-15, 5-11 Big 12) got their final basket was indicative of the way they have played in the past. With 10 seconds remaining and the Tigers trailing 63-62, no one seemed to want to take the final shot. Senior guard Jimmy McKinney drove to the right side of the basket before dumping the ball off to fellow senior Kevin Young under the hoop. Young took one look at the basket and decided to pass the ball off to sophomore forward Marshall Brown, who put in the game-winning floater with 3.3 seconds remaining.
Nebraska (17-12, 7-9 Big 12) had two chances to regain the lead but threw the ball out of bounds on its first opportunity. Then guard Jason Dourisseau bounced a 60-foot shot off the back of the rim after rebounding a missed free throw by Brown.
"Those shots have been going in all year against us," Gardner said. "My heart kind of dropped. Luckily, he missed it, and luckily Kevin (Young) didn't get called for a foul for reaching in."
The Tigers would not have been in a position to hit a winning shot without Watkins, who came into the game with just seven points in conference play, and Gardner. The two accounted for 19 of the team's final 21 points and 22 of the final 26. Watkins, who finished with a career-high 11 points, scored eight consecutive points to keep the Tigers within nine, and Gardner followed with 11 consecutive points in less than two minutes to give the Tigers a 62-61 lead with a minute remaining.
"I think we were more determined today, and we just fed off the momentum," guard Jason Horton said. "I'm just happy we got this win before we go to Dallas. Now, everyone's equal again. This gets a huge monkey off our back."
non illigitimae carborundum
3/6/2006 8:32 am
Hey, I'm rooting for anyone to beat Texas!!! |
3/6/2006 8:50 am
Texas(1) will face the winner of the Texas Tech(/Kansas State(9) first-round matchup. We'll see what happens! |
3/7/2006 5:41 am
In comment above, note that Texas Tech is seeded 8th in the field of 12, while KSU is seeded 9th.|