Christian Moody probably doesn’t know Kiwane Garris. The North Carolina native may not have ever even heard of Garris, for that matter, but he did a great Garris impression Monday.
Garris was a guard for that other neighbor-state rival, Illinois, from 1993 to 1997. He was a good one, starting as a freshman, and is still ranked second among career scorers for the Illini. But in the Braggin’ Rights game of 1993 there was no more temporarily beloved opponent for Tiger fans.
Garris was fouled as time expired in the second overtime, giving him two chances to win the game. Garris missed both to the joy of half of the old St. Louis Arena, and Missouri went on to win in the third overtime. Sound familiar?
Garris was an 80 percent free-throw shooter that year and shot 83 percent for his career. In just the second month of his career, though, Garris certainly hadn’t faced pressure like that of a potentially game-winning situation in a rivalry game.
Missouri’s student section did the screaming on Monday. Coach Quin Snyder credited the crowd with putting pressure on Moody, who, like Garris, missed two chances to propel Kansas to victory. Missouri needed one overtime to snatch the win Monday.
Moody is a former walk-on and a senior forward, though his experience is limited. He first saw double-digit minutes his junior year, and he had not been in the rare spot of being on the line in a tied game with less than a second left.
Moody was 9-of-18 shooting free throws entering Monday’s game, and finished the night 3-of-8, leaving him at 46 percent for the year. Last season he shot 55 percent from the line.
“He’s a tough kid, he can handle it,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “He’s never been a great free-throw shooter since we’ve had him, but he’s always made some pretty big free throws for us. I’d put him back up there again.”
Self said he liked the matchup of Moody on the floor at that point, and that outweighed any consideration he gave toward taking him out.
The 1993 Tigers/Illini thriller came 19 days after Missouri suffered a disheartening 120-68 blowout at Arkansas. Monday’s win comes 26 days after an 82-50 loss against Illinois. That 1993-’94 team went on to run the table in Big 8 Conference play, and make
an elite eight appearance in the NCAA tournament. This team’s fate is far from determined, but the 3-1 conference start qualifies as better than most expected.
CLOCK CONTROVERSY: The game probably shouldn’t have come down to Moody. ESPN’s coverage clearly showed the clock was late to start on Kansas’ final possession, when Mario Chalmers took the inbound pass, went the length of the floor, and found Moody. The play started with 5.2 showing on the clock, and the clock momentarily stayed there as Chalmers started down court. Had the clock started properly, time almost certainly would have expired before Moody had a chance to make a play at the rim.
Athletic director Mike Alden realized the mistake and descended from his seat to the floor to alert the courtside officials of the error.
“He ran from his seat all the way to the scorer’s table to point that out, but the refs said it was pretty much too late for that,” Thomas Gardner said of Alden.
PREMATURE JUBILEE: When Brandon Rush drove and dished, inadvertently finding Jimmy McKinney on the Jayhawks’ final possession in overtime, Missouri was all but assured of the win. So it’s hard to blame Missouri’s equipment mananger Kit Lisauskas for celebrating, even if there were two seconds left on the clock. But when Lisauskas began to run on the floor to meet the also-celebrating Gardner, Tiger assistant coach Jeff Meyer quickly grabbed Lisauskas by his suit coat and hauled him to the sideline to avoid a potential technical foul.
Seconds later, Lisauskas and thousands of Missouri fans stormed the court, this time without incident.