Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Thames Scores 20, Tames Buffaloes Intensity Lacking in 82-70 Mu Victory

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Thames Scores 20, Tames Buffaloes Intensity Lacking in 82-70 Mu Victory

Article excerpt

What with Colorado having lost 76 of its last 77 Big Eight Conference regular-season road games and all, it was little wonder that the Missouri basketball team lollygagged through much of their meeting on Wednesday night.

"Coach tried to get his point across all week: `Don't underestimate Colorado. Get up for the game. Don't be all lackadaisical,' " MU senior guard Melvin Booker said. "But it's hard to get up for a team like Colorado."

So it was that Mizzou's 82-70 victory over the feeble Buffs was marked as much by fraternizing between the teams as it was by freshman Kelly Thames' career-high 20 points and another splendid effort off the bench by newcomer Paul O'Liney.

"It was fun and games, cracking jokes," said Booker, who had 19 points and seven assists.

There was Colorado center Ted Allen waving playfully to the Antlers after fouling out. There was MU's Jevon Crudup, grinning and cutting up with Allen after Allen was hit in a sensitive area. There was MU's Marlo Finner and CU's Donnie Boyce, Chicago natives, chirping away at every chance.

After the game, Boyce asked Finner his room number.

"Didn't I tell you that on the court?" Finner said.

Would any of this have been acceptable against, say, Kansas?

"No, no, no, no, no, no," Booker said. "No. No."

But CU, which now has lost 23 in succession in Columbia, entered the game 10-9 overall and 2-5 in the Big Eight Conference. Worse, the Buffs were without forward Mark Dean, the Big Eight's second-leading rebounder.

That left Colorado with just eight healthy players, and the only suspense at game's end was what coach Joe Harrington would do if a fourth Buff fouled out.

The circumstances seemed so stacked against CU that even MU coach Norm Stewart hardly was fussy about the nonchalant victory.

"Psychologically, we didn't get the maximum possible out of ourselves," said Stewart, who acknowledged that it's difficult to expect 40 minutes of concentration in each game. "But that's what you're striving for.

"It's not possible to make all your shots, but you always think some night maybe you will. …

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