Tigers get a scare in Detroit

Missouri tipped off its basketball season Saturday night, and it got a better team that it ever could have bargained for. Oakland fought Missouri down to the wire, until the two Tigers from Detroit polished it off.

In their return to Detroit, Rickey Paulding and Arthur Johnson came together on one play to punctuate Missouri's win at Oakland University.

They probably didn't figure it would happen so late in the game.

With only 50 seconds left in Missouri's 90-85 win Saturday, Paulding drove the lane and whipped a bounce pass to Johnson, who dunked it to give the Tigers an 85-82 lead. The Golden Grizzlies couldn't get closer afterward.

Paulding and guard Jimmy McKinney led the Tigers with 21 points each, and Johnson had 19 points and 11 rebounds.

For a while, No. 5 Missouri looked as if it could have fallen in its season opener, which was on the road because coach Quin Snyder wanted to let Paulding and Johnson play at home in their senior season. Oakland had several second half leads, including a 64-63 lead with 11:10 left in the second half.

From then on, though Missouri found ways to hold off the Golden Grizzlies, who had already played five games, including two against ranked teams.

Missouri led 70-67 with 8:12 left when Mike Helms, Oakland's All-American candidate, fouled out on a hand check on Josh Kroenke. That's when Rawle Marshall stepped in for the Golden Grizzlies and never let Missouri build more a lead bigger than 79-73 with 5:40 left. Marshall scored 11 of Oakland's last 12 points, and he finished with a game-high 27.

Missouri led only 83-82, when McKinney missed a jump shot and Paulding got the rebound. Paulding dribbled inside and the hesitated, bringing Johnson's defender across the lane. That's when Paulding sent the ball to Johnson, who dunked it.

From there, Missouri made five of its last six free throws to seal the win.

Black & Gold Illustrated Top Stories