On Friday (7:00 P.M., MSN) at the Hearnes Center, Missouri will open exhibition play against Oklahoma City University, which historically is an NAIA basketball power.
The game is being referred to as a “throwback game”, as Missouri will wear throwback jerseys in honor of Missouri’s 1993-1994 team that completed an undefeated conference season, and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Members of the 1993-1994 team, including Big 8 Player of the Year Melvin Booker, along with Jevon Crudup, Lamont Frazier, and others, will be in attendance, along with former Missouri Head Coach Norm Stewart.
On Tuesday, Coach Stewart joined current Missouri Head Coach Frank Haith in talking about the event.
“On behalf of the 1993-1994 basketball team, I want to thank Coach Haith,” said Coach Stewart. “He came to me, and this is his baby. I also want to thank the Athletic Department and the University for recognizing the ball club (from) twenty years ago, and the individuals.”
In describing the 1993-1994 team, Coach Stewart repeated a phrase that was often used 20 years ago to describe that Missouri team, “The sum total of that team was greater than the sum of its parts.”
“I’m just thrilled to be a part of something as special as this,” said Coach Haith. “I have a lot of admiration and respect for Coach Stewart. To have an opportunity to honor him and that team on that day is really, really special for me.”
In reminiscing, Coach Stewart pointed out that the 1993-1994 season began with a 2-point win over Central Missouri, followed shortly after with a 52-point loss at Arkansas, in the first-ever game at Bud Walton Arena.
“That was bad officiating,” recalled Coach Stewart, in a retelling of history. “And, they slipped by us at the end.”
He also pointed out that had Missouri beaten Arizona in the Elite Eight, that the Tigers would have played Arkansas again in the Final Four.
When asked which game stands out to him from that season, Coach Stewart pointed to the triple overtime victory over Illinois in the final game at the “old place” in St. Louis. That 3-OT win closely followed the blowout loss at Arkansas, and began a winning streak that didn't come to an end until the post-season.