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Second grade basketball team enjoys game from arena suite

Sunday, January 23, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:02 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Usually the fans in the luxury suites at Mizzou Arena can be found sipping Coke and reclining in the plush seating.

On Saturday, one of the 26 suites had a little more life, thanks to 10 second graders.

The 10 boys, who play for the Prairie Star Panthers in Kansas City, enjoyed the Tigers’ 80-70 victory against Nebraska with their fathers by hanging over the glass pane, holding up signs and cheering for one of their favorite players.

“We wanted to have some good father-son time and these kids are having a lot of fun,” said Don Walsworth, who resides in Kansas City and reserved the suite through his work.

The Panthers (4-0) also received visits from Missouri quarterback Brad Smith and mascot Truman the Tiger.

But Walsworth’s son, Tripp, said the highlight of the game came when Missouri’s Thomas Gardner hit a 3-pointer at the first-half buzzer.

GET YOUR PROGRAM:

When sophomore Ashley Overberg left Hatch Hall, a board near the front desk said it was 20 degrees outside.

What it didn’t tell was the temperature with the wind chill.

Overberg sold programs at the north entrance of Mizzou Arena from when the doors opened at 10:30 a.m. until tip-off at 12:30 p.m.

She stood near the turnstiles, a little 20 feet from the doors, wearing a yellow “Program Seller” t-shirt and khaki pants.

Normally the job is enjoyable, but with a game-time temperature of 13 degrees (minus 7 with the wind chill) and a constant flow of people keeping the doors open, she was left shivering.

“It’s a little chilly out,” Overberg said. “You know when you can see your own breath there’s a problem.

“If I would’ve known it was going to be this cold, I would have worn more clothes underneath.”

GREAT CLIP:

Linas Kleiza displayed more than his basketball game Saturday.

The 6-foot-8, 233-pound forward, who scored a career-high 31 points and had 10 rebounds, also sported a new haircut.

Injured center Jeffery Ferguson provided Kleiza with the stylish buzz cut.

“He’s a good barber, my private barber,” Kleiza said. “This time I think he did a pretty good job. I just had to, I mean my hair was long. I was like, ‘Ferg, hook me up.’”

HOT SHOT:

More than 30 minutes before Saturday’s game, Missouri freshman Glen Dandridge and Gardner stood alone on the east end of Norm Stewart Court for some friendly competition.

For the past two games, the two guards have tried to see who can make more free throws and who can make more 3-pointers.

If you miss, you lose.

“(Dandridge) got me at the Texas Tech game,” Gardner said. “So I told him I was going to win today.”

After Dandridge won the free throw competition, Gardner lived up to his prediction, making his final four 3-pointers from the top of the key.

“It’s just a fun little game to get us going and get us warmed up,” Gardner said, “and it’s been paying off in the game.”

JAYHAWK JAB:

It’s not too often Missouri fans have been able to deride their rival Kansas this season.

That changed Saturday.

During a TV timeout four minutes and 11 seconds into the game, the PA announcer at Mizzou Arena announced to the crowd that the Jayhawks trailed Villanova 76-47.

Then at halftime, KOMU provided highlights from the 83-62 defeat, Kansas’ first of the season.

Fans received both with delight, while the news didn’t suprise Missouri coach Quin Snyder.

“College basketball, when you’re on the road, now anything can happen,” Snyder said. “We know what a good team they are, and I’m sure they’ll bounce back.”

F

ORMER TIGERS HONORED:

Six former Tigers were recognized at halftime.

They were inducted into the University of Missouri Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame during a dinner Friday at the Holiday Inn Executive Center.

Highlighting the inductions was Devin West, Missouri’s career leader in all-purpose yardage in football and an All-American in 1998.

Al Abram, Rebecca Davis (Wilmes), Charlie McMullen, Sonny Siebert and Ray Thorpe rounded out the six.

Abram, who was the first black athlete to receive a scholarship at Missouri, played basketball under Sparky Stalcup and led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding in the 1958-59 season.

“We were wondering if it was ever going to happen and it did,” said Glenda Abram, 63, whose husband died in August 1982. “If he were here, he would be ecstatic about it.”

Siebert was an All-American first baseman in 1958, and Thorpe received All-American honors in baseball in 1967.

Davis, a two-time All-American, and McMullen, a three-time All American, were both athletes on the track and field and cross country teams.

McMullen died in August, 2003.


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