MANHATTAN, Kan. — The Missouri men’s basketball team almost didn’t make it to its game against Kansas State on Saturday. After the 20-point beating it suffered at the Wildcats’ hands, the Tigers probably wished they hadn’t.
The Tigers had planned to fly to Manhattan on a charter flight, but the plane had mechanical problems while being serviced in Des Moines, Iowa, forcing the team to find an alternate means of transportation.
Instead, the Tigers drove the roughly 250 miles from Columbia to Manhattan on a team bus. According to MU spokesman Sam Fleury, the Tigers watched the films “Dodgeball” and “Man On Fire” to kill time and get fired up for the game during the trip. If the Tigers’ play is an indication, Vince Vaughn and Denzel Washington didn’t quite do the trick.
SILENT ANSWER:Forty minutes prior to the game, freshmen Jason Horton and Marshall Brown were shooting around in front of a mostly empty gym. Members of the Kansas State band started taunting the pair.
“Look, it’s the Answer,” one band member yelled, referring to the long black sleeve Horton wears on his right arm. Philadelphia guard Allen Iverson, nicknamed ‘The Answer,’ wears a similar sleeve.
While Iverson wears his for fashion, Horton wears his sleeve to aid the circulation in his right arm. He had a blood clot in his right shoulder that required surgery during the offseason. Of course, Horton didn’t take the time to explain that to the band members. He just walked toward the baseline, smiled, and knocked down a 3-pointer from the corner. That kept the band members quiet for the rest of the warm up.
TOUGH TOWN:The Wildcats were about due for some good karma. Not only did the team lose tough games to Texas Tech and Nebraska, but a pair of Kansas State freshman also lost their wallets. Wildcat guards Curtis Allen and Clint Stewart were robbed at gunpoint in Manhattan on Wednesday. The pair were outside the hotel they were staying at while residence halls are closed over break. Allen was struck on the back of the head, and forced to surrender his money by two unknown armed assailants. After Stewart too had given up his valuables, he made a run for it. Stewart was able to escape and call police. The assailants made off with the valuables, but the two players were unharmed. Both played in Saturday’s game.
FALLING OUT:It was painfully obvious that the Tigers got flustered in the waning minutes. Sophomore forward Linas Kleiza got his fourth foul on a questionable charging call. He fouled out 20 seconds later with 2:10 left when he reached in on Wildcat forward Jeremiah Massey. Forward Marshall Brown committed his fifth foul when Massy missed the freethrow. Without a second ticking off the clock, Missouri lost two big men on unnecessary fouls.
On the same play that sent Brown out, freshman Jason Horton was called with technical foul.
“We lost our poise,” Horton said. “You got to be tougher on the road and they were much tougher and smarter than we were. They wanted it more than we did and we got outplayed.”
The collapse clearly stung.
“I feel like I’m going to puke,” junior Kevin Young muttered as he headed for the team bus.