COLUMBIA — For the first time this season, the mother and girlfriend of Missouri men's basketball player Ricardo Ratliffe attended one of his games.
Ratliffe and girlfriend, Ryane Lally, planned the weekend visit several months ago. But Lally, who attended St. Petersburg (Fla.) College, a school Ratliffe played against while he attended Central Florida Community College, convinced Kismyt Ratliffe to make the trip from from her home in Hampton, Va.
Lally arrived on Thursday from Florida and told Ricardo Ratliffe that the airline lost her baggage, so she would need to go back to the airport Friday night to pick it up.
In fact, they would be picking up Kismyt Ratliffe. But she had problems getting to Columbia. Her flight to Memphis was delayed, and she missed her connecting flight to Columbia. She couldn’t catch another flight until Saturday afternoon, which forced Lally to tell Ricardo Ratliffe about the surprise.
Kismyt Ratliffe arrived for Saturday's game against Presbyterian just after tipoff. When Ricardo Ratliffe saw his mother had arrived, he turned around from the Missouri bench, and she blew him a kiss.
“They’re not supposed to look this way, but he sneaked a peek,” Kismyt Ratliffe joked.
Ricardo Ratliffe scored only six points in Missouri’s 70-55 victory, but he made several key plays. Five minutes into the game, Ratliffe stole the ball from Presbyterian guard Pierre Miller and went in for a two-handed dunk. On another play, Ratliffe blocked a shot by Presbyterian’s Ryan Hargrave, drove down the court and scored on a layup.
“I got into foul trouble early, so I couldn’t play for her as much as I wanted to or perform like I wanted to,” Ricardo Ratliffe said. “But I got to still play, and she felt that excitement, and we came out with the win, so I’m glad she got to be here.”
Missouri coach Mike Anderson said that Ricardo Ratliffe is still adjusting to the Division I play, but that it’s going fine.
“Today was not one of his better days, but when he turns it on, he’s a pretty good player,” Anderson said. “I think in time he will be a lot more athletic, especially against teams he has a size advantage on.”
Kismyt Ratliffe decided to come to Saturday's game because the Tigers' schedule won't allow Ricardo Ratliffe to go home for Christmas.
Kismyt Ratliffe said she was awed by the size of Mizzou Arena and how many people came to support the Tigers.
“He definitely made the right decision to come here to Mizzou,” Kismyt Ratliffe said. “It’s a big transition for him, but he’s getting there, and it’s going to get better. Nothing but better.”