Archive for Saturday, March 14, 2009

No. 14 Mizzou beats Baylor for first Big 12 title

Missouri’s DeMarre Carroll (1) runs through the confetti after Missouri defeated Baylor in the Big 12 tournament championship game. The Tigers won, 73-60, Saturday in Oklahoma City to claim their first conference championship in 16 years.

Missouri’s DeMarre Carroll (1) runs through the confetti after Missouri defeated Baylor in the Big 12 tournament championship game. The Tigers won, 73-60, Saturday in Oklahoma City to claim their first conference championship in 16 years.

March 14, 2009

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Baylor’s Kevin Rogers covers his face as he leaves the court after the loss to MU.

Baylor’s Kevin Rogers covers his face as he leaves the court after the loss to MU.

Missouri coach Mike Anderson holds up the Big 12 championship trophy after defeating Baylor 73-60 in the Big 12 Conference men's tournament championship game in Oklahoma City, Saturday, March 14, 2009.

Missouri coach Mike Anderson holds up the Big 12 championship trophy after defeating Baylor 73-60 in the Big 12 Conference men's tournament championship game in Oklahoma City, Saturday, March 14, 2009.

— DeMarre Carroll could only shake his head and listen to his teammates laugh as he finished chronicling what he’d been through in two years at Missouri.

Seated alongside the uncle who also happened to be his head coach and wearing a Big 12 championship cap and T-shirt, his journey seemed just a little bit wild.

“Once I transferred here, everything started going wrong. I was just looking around like, ‘Man, what did I get myself into?’ But my uncle told me just keep having faith and the sun will come up at the end,” Carroll said.

“I got shot, we lost a lot of games, and so on. But look at me now. I’m standing here smiling and I’m a Big 12 champion.”

Carroll scored 20 points as the 14th-ranked Tigers ended Baylor’s surprising run through the Big 12 tournament, grinding down the Bears, 73-60, to win their first postseason conference title in 16 years.

Not since 1993, when longtime coach Norm Stewart guided Mizzou to the last of four Big Eight titles in seven years, had the Tigers emerged victorious in a conference tournament.

But times have changed quickly. In fact, the Tigers are all about doing things fast with coach Mike Anderson’s brand of the “fastest 40 minutes in basketball.”

The Tigers (28-6) are bound for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003 and leaving far behind the days of NCAA violations, off-the-court incidents and empty postseasons that had spoiled recent seasons.

Carroll himself got caught up in one of those bad situations. He was trying to break up a fight when he got shot in the ankle at a downtown nightclub in July 2007.

“We had some storms. We had a lot of storms. And of course, he was involved in some of those,” said Anderson, who is Carroll’s uncle. “ ... I always tell guys, ‘Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.’

“That’s how I look at myself and life. You’ve got to persevere. You’ve got to have faith. ... I think you’ve got to go through some things in order to get where you want to go.”

For Missouri, the last step to the championship was against a Baylor team trying to become the first to win four games in as many days to claim the Big 12 title. But after a string of three straight upsets that included a quarterfinal stunner against No. 11 Kansas, the three-time defending tournament champion and top seed, the ninth-seeded Bears (20-14) finally ran out of gas.

Matt Lawrence hit a three-pointer and a layup on back-to-back possessions as Missouri pushed its lead to 46-35 with a run of seven straight points early in the second half, and he had another three after the Bears had gotten back within single digits.

Baylor made a brief comeback bid with a run of six straight points to get within 51-46 on Kevin Rogers’ basket from the left block with 11:38 remaining, but he missed the chance to make it a three-point play and the Tigers then snuffed out the rally with an 8-0 run including a basket inside and a three-pointer from Carroll. The lead eventually grew to as many as 15.

“We don’t mind playing fast, but our advantage was inside and I don’t know if we had enough in the tank to do that nonstop,” said Bears coach Scott Drew, whose team was only the third in the tournament’s 13 years to win three games in three days to get to the title game. Missouri did it in 1997 and 2003.

Curtis Jerrells led Baylor with 16 points, Henry Dugat added 12, and LaceDarius Dunn had 11.

With 12 wins more than last season, the Tigers have matched the biggest turnaround in school history with a frenetic, pressing style that wears down even opponents that haven’t played the day before — much less three in a row.

That made Baylor’s task that much more difficult.

“When you play a team that plays as many as they rotate, they’re always going to be fresh,” Drew said. “The second thing is they played one day less, and the other thing with that is their style. ... We really tried to slow it down more, but when you’re getting hounded and someone’s swinging at you, you have two options: duck or hit. Both of them are actions.”

Tigers fans started chanting “M-I-Z! Z-O-U!” as Lawrence stepped to the line in the final minute to help Missouri close it out.

“Four games in four days. I thought it took its toll,” Anderson said as a rainbow of confetti flowed through the arena and the Tigers celebrated at center court. “And our Tigers rose to the occasion.”

Comments

shotgun 6 years, 4 months ago

Tigers fans started chanting “M-I-Z! Z-O-U!” as Lawrence stepped to the line in the final minute to help Missouri close it out.

Wow! Lawrence helps Mizzou in more ways than one!

Lyons and Tigers beat Bears, oh my!

Kudos to LJW for stepping up and running this AP article and photo!

Pops 6 years, 4 months ago

Mike Anderson has turned this program around. Bad news for the Jayhawks for years to come.

nobody1793 6 years, 4 months ago

"Mike Anderson has turned this program around. Bad news for the Jayhawks for years to come."

If Tubby Smith passes on the Alabama job, Anderson's next on the list, and they've got lots of money to spend.

Jim Williamson 6 years, 4 months ago

Dear Missouri,

You're welcome.

Signed, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas

shotgun 6 years, 4 months ago

Phogfan86 (Anonymous) says… Dear Missouri, You're welcome. Signed, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas

2fat4u (Anonymous) says… Yeah, right. Missouri sucks. We own them, how ironic!

OOOOO! the "beakers" are upset! Had the Jayhawks, Sooners, and Longhorns manned up, The Tigers would have had a better match up!

If the Jayhawk's win or loose, at the end of the day, you are still in Kansas!

Pops 6 years, 4 months ago

When KU does not win why are KU fans so negative and derogatory against those teams who do?

Chris Beilman 6 years, 4 months ago

No. 14 Mizzou beats Baylor for first Big 12 title ... Correction - This was the Big 12 Tournament, "not" the Big 12 "Conference title".

MyName 6 years, 4 months ago

When KU does not win why are KU fans so negative and derogatory against those teams who do?

Well, for starters, it's MIzzou. And Mizzou is the devilll. If it was Texas, probably wouldn't care.

But I'm sure not all KU fans (or people who claim to be KU fans) are like that anyways.

Pops 6 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for confirming my point ArumerZwarteHoop.

MyName 6 years, 4 months ago

If the Jayhawk's win or loose, at the end of the day, you are still in Kansas!

Did Missouri suddenly stop being the Meth capitol of the US? Did their fans suddenly stop being classless jerks who like to throw whiskey bottles at the other team (and their band) when they lose?

No? Well then I think I'll stay on the right side of the border.

mom_of_three 6 years, 4 months ago

It's nice to be Big 12 Tournament champs and Big Conference/League Champions, but between the two, I would rather be the conference champ. It shows who came out on top after the playing the same teams (even though south and north play different teams twice.)

jonas_opines 6 years, 4 months ago

pops: Arumer proves no points but one: a troll is a troll is a troll.

At any rate, congratulations on the rebuild for MU, even if I was rooting for Baylor in that game (not just against MU!)

bamlin 6 years, 4 months ago

I have been told all year during football season when MU was Big 12 Champions that I needed to wait till basketball season an we would see who shines. I'm still waiting!!! MU BIg 12 Tourney Champions, KU one and DONE!!

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