By Tiger Fan
All right Tiger fans, I know we're all pretty excited about the football team's success, but we can't forget that basketball season is right around the corner. Mizzou Madness tips off the season next Friday and the first exhibition game is less than a month away (Nov. 3 vs. UMR). I know we've been down on the basketball team in recent years, but I think the arrival of Mike Anderson is the beginning of an exciting new era of basketball at Mizzou. So, to get everyone pumped up, here's a look back at the 10 best plays of the past five seasons. Enjoy!
10. Clarence Gilbert wins the Guardians Classic at the free throw line – Nov. 21, 2001
Gilbert hit 1-of-2 free throws with .8 seconds left to give the No. 5 Tigers an amazing come-from-behind win over No. 9 Iowa. Admittedly, the play itself was not all that exciting, but it was the culmination of wild final minute that saw the Mizzou overcome a 77-71 with 41 seconds to play. After 3s from Kareem Rush and Rickey Paulding, Gilbert’s 27th point of the night gave the Tigers a 78-77 victory that the folks in Iowa City are still angry about.
9. Marshall Brown seals a victory over Indiana with a 360 dunk – Dec. 19, 2004
Yes, it was ill-advised. And yes, it was unnecessary. But man was it fun to see him throw it down and hear Mizzou Arena really explode for the first time. After trailing by as many as 17, the Tigers took a one-point lead on a Linas Kleiza free throw with less than a minute to play. Indiana got one last chance, but Bracey Wright was stripped going down the lane and Brown got the ball on a breakaway. He threw down a one-handed 360 dunk with less than a second to play and pandemonium ensued.
8. Wesley Stokes beats SLU at the buzzer – Dec. 3, 2001
If you followed the 2001-02 team at all, you knew what was supposed to happen with the game tied at 67 and 4.8 seconds to play. Get the ball to Rush or Gilbert. But when Wesley Stokes saw the floor open up in front of him, he went for it. The result was a tough 18-footer at the buzzer to give Mizzou a 69-67 win in St. Louis. I was watching this one at Buffalo Wild Wings in Columbia and the place erupted. I remember hugging people I didn’t know. Great moment… still gives me chills.
7. Travon Bryant beats the buzzer in the Big XII Tourney – March 14, 2003
Speaking of unexpected heroes… Mizzou and Oklahoma State we tied at 58 with 35 seconds to play in the Big XII quarterfinals. Jimmy McKinney drove for the game-winner but the ball was knocked away. It went off two OSU players and straight into the hands of Bryant, who instinctively put up the short jumper. The buzzer sounded as the ball rattled off three sides of the rim and in. That set up a semifinal date with the beakers. This shot always reminds me why dorm life is fun sometimes. We were sitting around, eating pizza and on the edge of our seats watching this one. Bryant’s game winner sent us spilling into the hallway in celebration.
6. A half-court heave by he who shall not be named – Feb. 1, 2003
If had come from someone other than the infamous No. 0 (cough, Clemons, cough), it would be even higher. With the No. 25 Tigers trailing Colorado 35-34 just before the half, Clemons took the pass off a missed free thrown, raced down the floor and buried a running half-court heave as the buzzer sounded. The entire place went insane. The game was over right then… no need to play the second half. A Colorado player later commented that it sounded like a bomb went off. If I recall correctly, the cheering continued for several minutes after the teams left the floor. As an interesting side note, a photographer for the Columbia Tribune actually captured this moment of euphoria... but you may remember that the athletic department came under scrutiny the next year for using that picture in its media guide. See, the thing is, the AD put their PhotoShop skills to work and removed Mr. Clemons from the picture. In so doing, they actually cut yours truly out of the picture and superimposed our good friend Yellow Suit Guy into the pic for the second time. Ah yes, Mizzou: We’re on the Move.
5. Gardner lights up kU – Jan. 16, 2006
It’s hard to pick out a single play from Gardner’s 40-point explosion against the beakers last year. I thought about including Moody’s Misses on this list, but it was depressing to think that one of the best Mizzou plays of the last five years was a guy from kU missing some free throws. So it has to be Gardner’s 3-pointer that tied the game with 5.6 seconds to play. It was the final basket in a wild seven-point comeback by the Tigers in the final 30 seconds. This was probably the craziest game I have ever been too… and it was amazing.
4. Kevin Young sets the tone against OU – Feb. 26, 2003
He only scored two points… but what an awesome two points they were. Young, a freshman at the time, got a rare start at power forward alongside Arthur Johnson and took full advantage. Just 16 seconds into the game, Young backed down All-American candidate Jabahri Brown and dunked it right in his face. The crowd went nuts and the tone was set. The Tigers went on to a 15-point route of No. 3 Oklahoma, 67-52. Young later said, “"That dunk wasn't a matter of being focused; it was matter of wanting to win.”
3. Paulding learns to fly against Ohio State – March 16, 2006
This is the first of a Rickey Paulding trifecta to top the list:
It may not look like much in the live version, but make sure you see the slow-motion replay. Paulding takes off from near the foul line and throws it down with authority. Unbelievable. This one had special meaning for me because I’m from Ohio and all my OSU friends had been talking smack. As I’m sure you know, the No. 12-seed Tigers went on to beat the Buckeyes 83-67 and advance to the Sweet 16.
2. Paulding jumps over a K-State player… literally – Feb. 28, 2004
The Tigers were trailing 39-31 with 17:07 to play in Manhattan when Paulding got the ball and dunked over (and I mean over) Frank Richards. Here’s the play:
The dunk sparked Mizzou to a 76-69 win. It also caused a bit of an uproar in Wildcat country because Richards was called for a blocking foul, rather than a charge on Paulding. They may have a point… but watch it again. Can you really punish a guy who just jumped over someone? I think not.
1. Ridiculous half-court alley-oop from Stokes to Paulding – Dec. 15, 2001
It’s the only play on the list that didn’t lead the Tigers to victory, but it’s still the best play I’ve seen in the last five years. During the first half of a game between No. 2 Mizzou and No. 15 Iowa, Stokes brought the ball up the floor and around mid-court, heaved it toward the student section. Paulding came out of nowhere, grabbed it and slammed it home with one hand over the top of Iowa’s Reggie Evans. I was in the front row of Zou Crew that day and I distinctly remember Paulding’s feet flying past my face before he got the ball. Simply an incredible play. As you can tell from the pic below (click on it for a larger version), the standing room only crowd loved it. But unfortunately, the Tigers still lost in a big way, 83-65.
by Mark Schiefelbein