Missouri men's basketball team battles weather for Wednesday game

Tuesday, February 1, 2011 | 7:05 p.m. CST; updated 8:34 p.m. CDT, Saturday, March 30, 2013

COLUMBIA — Kim English has renamed the Missouri men's basketball team the "Siberian Tigers."

The MU junior guard announced the change on his Twitter account Tuesday, switching the traditional mascot to the more snow-friendly subspecies as he and his teammates waited out steady snowfall in a Kansas City hotel. Missouri's trip to Stillwater, Okla., for Wednesday's game against Oklahoma State has become a bit of an adventure for the Tigers. But, as of Tuesday, the game is still scheduled for its original start time (8 p.m. Wednesday).

As people around the state stocked up on groceries and locked themselves in to ride out the incoming snowstorm, the team was on the move. After Monday's practice, players and coaches boarded a team bus headed for Kansas City. The possibility of busing all the way to Oklahoma was an early option, but road conditions ruled out the idea. The bus even stopped once on the way to Kansas City to allow ice to be cleared from the windshield. 

Team spokesman Dave Reiter said Tuesday that there was a slight chance of flying out Tuesday night, but the team would likely leave Wednesday, giving more time for runways to be cleared.

A post on the MU athletics blog said Big 12 and Oklahoma State officials will make a decision Wednesday morning on whether the game will be played as scheduled.

The players got a bit of time outside of the hotel Tuesday when they were able to use nearby Park University's facilities to hold a practice. 

The Big 12 seems to be optimistic about likelihood of Wednesday's game occurring as planned. Big 12 spokesman Rob Carolla released a statement Tuesday, announcing the rescheduling of the Baylor and Oklahoma men's basketball game. Originally scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in Norman, Okla., the game was moved to 2 p.m. Wednesday. If Baylor and Oklahoma tip off, Missouri and Oklahoma State will likely do the same.

Missouri and Oklahoma state fans who brave the weather to make it to Gallagher-Iba Arena will earn a free seat. According to a release from the Oklahoma State athletic department, admission to the game will be free because of the weather. Those taking advantage of the offer will be required to sit in a certain area of the arena.

"Our goal is to provide an opportunity for a home-court advantage against a quality Big 12 opponent," Oklahoma State associate athletic director Kevin Klintworth said in the release. 

Bowers limited in practice:

Missouri junior forward Laurence Bowers did not fully participate in Missouri's practice at Park University on Tuesday. Bowers was limited to light drills, still feeling the effects of being hit in the head with an elbow during Missouri's loss to Texas on Saturday.

"It could have been a mild concussion, but hopefully he will be OK," Missouri coach Mike Anderson said on Monday. 

Anderson has not yet decided whether Bowers will play Wednesday, likely making the decision closer to the start of the game.  

Missouri still looking for first Big 12 Conference road win:

If Missouri's travel plans go accordingly, the Tigers will be in Stillwater in time for tipoff. And, while getting there will be a challenge, Missouri will have another one waiting for it. The Tigers are yet to win a Big 12 Conference game away from Mizzou Arena. 

"Every team's good, and every team's good at home," Anderson said Monday during the Big 12 teleconference.

Missouri's loss to Texas on Saturday in Austin, Texas, moved the Tigers to 3-3 in the conference.

"In our case with Texas, we didn't shoot the ball well, and we didn't rebound the ball well. That's a recipe for disaster, anybody you play," Anderson said.

On the road, Missouri is allowing opponents to score an average of 83.7 points a game while holding teams to just less than 50 percent shooting. Oklahoma State is having its fair share of trouble as well. The Cowboys have lost their past three games, winning only one of their past six.

"We've played a lot of road games. It's always better to be back at home, but it doesn't guarantee you anything," Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford said in Monday's Big 12 teleconference. 

Anderson said Missouri needs to do a better job of getting to the free-throw line, as well as realizing and taking advantages of opportunities to put games away.

"There are windows of opportunity for you to win. You've gotta make plays. You've gotta be in position first of all, and then of course going down the stretch, you've gotta make plays," he said. 

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