Bowers' dunk brings Missouri men's basketball fans to feet

Wednesday, January 12, 2011 | 9:56 p.m. CST; updated 11:27 a.m. CST, Thursday, January 13, 2011
Laurence Bowers dunks over Nebraska's Toney McCray, left, and Jorge Brian Diaz late in the first half. The play brought the Mizzou Arena crowd to its feet.

COLUMBIA — After two Nebraska free throws cut the Missouri men's basketball team's lead to 35-26 with less than a minute to play in the first half, Bowers came up with a play to bring the crowd at Mizzou Arena to its feet.

Guard Phil Pressey was being heavily pressured by Nebraska's defense, so he passed the ball to forward Steve Moore. Moore drew two Nebraska defenders and quickly passed between them to Bowers, who was running toward the basket from the outside. Bowers took the ball, jumped over two Nebraska players, extended the ball behind his back and threw it down for a dunk.

“I just saw the opportunity to go dunk it,” Bowers said. “I didn’t know if anybody was going to be there or not. It was just another dunk really. I'm not trying to be arrogant or anything, but I’ve had a nice share of dunks during my career here, so it was just another play.”

Afterward, Bowers showed no emotion, but the crowd at Mizzou Arena showed its approval. All 11,358 fans in attendance jumped to their feet, making it loud enough that Nebraska had difficulty getting the ball upcourt.

Missouri guard Marcus Denmon said when he saw the dunk, one thing came to mind.

“Da da da,” Denmon sung while laughing, alluding to ESPN SportsCenter’s theme song.

Bowers scored 12 points Wednesday in the Tigers' 77-69 victory over Nebraska.

Cornhuskers coach Doc Sadler said that entering the game, the Huskers were focused on stopping Bowers and Missouri’s inside game. But after Denmon, who led the Tigers with 27 points, converted three 3-pointers in the first five minutes, the Cornhuskers were forced to start guarding the Tigers on the outside, opening up the inside lanes.

“You’re not going to beat anybody in this league letting the ball into the lane 47 times,” Nebraska coach Doc Sadler said. “That’s the whole ballgame right there.”

Not all of Bowers plays went as well as the first-half dunk. With six minutes left to play, Bowers dove trying to keep the ball from going out of bounds. He chucked it at the feet of a Nebraska player, but the momentum from his dive caused Bowers, who weighs 210 pounds, to fall squarely on top of one of MU's Golden Girls.

“They were probably hurt,” Bowers said. “I fell on one of them, and I’m not a little guy, but they didn’t say anything.”

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