Brian Dailey didn’t hesitate.
When coach Quin Snyder turned toward the end of the Missouri bench and motioned for Dailey to check in, he sprung out of his seat, took off his warm-up and rushed to center court.
He wasn’t surprised. He was ready.
For Snyder, there had been one too many turnovers. Not enough energy. Sloppy defense.
He made the move with 13:16 left in the second half, hoping the hard-playing Dailey would spark the lackluster Tigers.
The Tigers beat Baylor 60-53 on Wednesday at Mizzou Arena.
“He knew the type of player that Dailey is,” McKinney said. “Dailey’s one of the guys that plays with a lot of energy and a lot of emotion and that’s what he was trying to get out of us.”
Although the move did help spark the Tigers, it did more to awaken the crowd.
“Once Dailey touches the ball and once he gets on the floor, the crowd gets involved,” McKinney said.
Dailey, who checked in for Thomas Gardner, played for 1:20 and touched the ball several times.
He even received some assistance from Gardner, who yelled instructions to Dailey from the bench.
Gardner said he was trying to make sure Dailey knew what offense the Tigers were running.
“It was awesome to go out there,” Dailey said. “Every minute is golden.”
HIGH SPIRITS: Spencer Laurie and McKinney are watching their former high school basketball teams with eager expectations.
McKinney went to Vashon High in St. Louis and Laurie attended Kickapoo High in Springfield, Mo.
Vashon (23-0) is ranked No. 1 in the Missouri Class 5 state poll and Kickapoo (22-1) is ranked No. 2.
McKinney said he looks at the standings from a different angle.
“Let’s turn this around,” McKinney said. “Kickapoo’s No. 2 in the state, Vashon’s No. 1 in the country, there’s a difference.”
McKinney has yet to talk-up his former squad to Laurie.
“I don’t want to rub it in because I don’t want to put pressure on them,” McKinney said. “I’m just going to continue to let them win and hope they get a national title.”
40 MINUTES: It wasn’t the first time and it won’t be the last.
Aaron Bruce played the full 40 minutes against Missouri on Wednesday, making it the third time this season he has played the entire game.
Bruce, a freshman guard from Australia, has averaged more than 30 minutes a game this season. Baylor has six scholarship players on its roster.
If Bruce was tired, it didn’t show. Rather as time wore on, Bruce played better.
He scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the second half, including consecutive 3-pointers late to help the Bears move within striking distance.
Bruce also surpassed Auburn’s Toney Douglas, becoming the nation’s highest scoring freshman.
After Wednesday’s game, Bruce is averaging 17.7 points. Douglas, who had five points in a loss to Vanderbilt, is averaging 17.5.
HONORING HOCKEY: Four freshmen in Cramer Hall took the announcement that there would be no professional hockey this year particularly hard.
To express their feelings Hunter Reiser convinced his friends to wear jerseys of their favorite teams to Wednesday’s game at Mizzou Arena.
“In remembrance of the league,” Reiser said. “We need some hockey.”
Sitting in the student section, Reiser, who hails from Denver, wore a Colorado Avalanche jersey. Other jerseys included the New Jersey Devils, the St. Louis Blues and the Dallas Stars.
“(The news) was rough,” said Alex Lewis, who wore the Devils jersey.