Aug. 25, 2012
NORMAN, Okla. -- A lively crowd of approximately 4,000 fans watched current OU strength and conditioning coach Jozsef Szendrei score 14 points and pull down 24 rebounds to help Team Cream post a 74-60 win over Team Crimson in the second annual men's basketball Legends Alumni Game at Lloyd Noble Center Saturday afternoon.
The alumni game capped an entertaining Sooner Basketball Family Weekend event that also included a Friday golf tournament and banquet benefiting the Wayman Tisdale Scholarship Foundation.
Most of the weekend's activities were centered around the 1987-88 Sooners, who were honored for reaching the national championship game 25 seasons ago. Back in Norman this weekend from that squad were players Mookie Blaylock, Ricky Grace, Tyrone Jones, Stacey King, Tony Martin, Terrence Mullins, Jason Skurcenski and Andre Wiley, and head coach Billy Tubbs and assistants Mike Anderson, Jim Kerwin and Mike Mims.
Unable to return for the weekend were 1987-88 players Mike Bell, Harvey Grant, Art Pollard and Dave Sieger.
The Legends Alumni Game looked like it was going to be a rout early, as Team Cream jumped out to a 37-24 halftime lead behind Bryatt Vann's 6 points and Szendrei's 13 rebounds.
But Kelley Newton's 3-point shooting spurred a major comeback for Team Crimson, which knotted the score at 47 near the midway point of the second half.
Not long after, Tubbs garnered perhaps the biggest laugh of the day when he was escorted to the scorers' table by a referee.
"The referees have asked," said Tubbs, "that regardless of how terrible the play is, or how out of shape the players are, do not throw anything on the floor."
Tubbs' comment was a play on his famous 1989 crowd address when he asked the OU fans to not throwing anything on the floor "regardless of how terrible the officiating" in an eventual Sooners' win over Missouri.
Team Cream put any thought of a Crimson come-from-behind victory to rest with a workmanlike 20-0 run that made the score 67-47 in the closing minutes.
Skurcenski's 3-pointer for the Cream squad at the buzzer capped the day's scoring.
"The ball bounced my way; I guess I was lucky," said Szendrei, who was selected game MVP. "I always like to pursue the ball. That's my niche."
Szendrei said his performance on the court wasn't the highlight of his weekend, however.
"Seeing everyone else here, seeing the older Sooners throughout the arena, the pioneers that built this program even before me (was my highlight). I was here 10 years ago, but some of these guys were here 20, 30, 40 years ago and they laid the foundation. I'm just trying to make sure this is a place worthy of them to think of, down the line, sending their kids to school."
King, a television analyst for the Chicago Bulls who was a two-time All-American at OU, said his weekend was rewarding.
"It was a great honor (to come back). I was born and raised in Oklahoma; this is my school and I bleed Sooner red. Any time I have a chance to come back and do some special things with the alumni, Coach (Lon) Kruger and Coach Tubbs, I'm going to stop everything I'm doing to come back. This was a lot of fun to be honored with the '88 team, which arguably is the greatest team in Sooner basketball history and one of the greatest teams in NCAA history.
Added King: "Being able to see guys I haven't seen in 15, 20 years, to not see these guys in so long -- it's almost like we never left here. It's been a great experience, a great weekend and I hope this (yearly reunion) continues."
The man behind the Sooner Basketball Family Weekend, second-year OU head coach Lon Kruger was seen smiling throughout the weekend.
"It's so good to have everyone back; they have such great memories of their time here," Kruger said. "And of course the fans that were here really appreciate what those players and coaches did. They enjoy hooking up and sharing those memories.
"The opportunity for the fans to come and just say 'thank you' again is great, because those memories are so special. Especially honoring the 1988 team, it's clearly one of the best ever in college basketball. They had so many weapons, played such good defense and had a lot of guys who played so well together."
|Team Crimson Points and Rebounds|
Kelley Newton: 21, 6
Beau Gerber: 19, 10
Terry Evans: 6, 5
T.J. Franklin: 5, 7
John McCullough: 4, 4
Skeeter Henry: 3, 3
Bo Overton: 2, 2
Steve Ayers: 0, 2
Shawn Clark: 0, 2
Choo Kennedy: 0, 2
|Team Cream Points and Rebounds|
Jozsef Szendrei: 14, 24
Tony Martin: 13, 3
Michael Neal: 10, 5
Bryatt Vann: 11, 4
Corey Brewer: 8, 3
Chris Black: 7, 6
Jason Skurcenski: 7, 3
Reggie Bass: 2, 5
Bill Dutcher: 2, 4