Mizzou vs. DePaul Today

The Tigers start their second season today when they take on the DePaul Blue Demons in the Mizzou Arena. Here is the official press packet on the game with lots of additional facts about the Tigers from the end of the regular season.

Missouri (16-16, 7-9 Big 12)

vs. DePaul (19-10, 10-6 Conference USA)

2005 National Invitation Tournament

Mar. 15, 2005 - Columbia, MO


Tip-off: 8:00 p.m.

Arena: Mizzou Arena (15,061 - 1st season)

TV: ESPN (Ron Franklin, play-by-play; Fran Fraschilla, analyst; Eric Posman, producer)

Radio: Tiger Radio Network (Mike Kelly, play-by-play: Gary Link, analyst)

Rankings: Neither team was ranked in either poll

Series: Tied, 2-2 : Last Meeting: DU, 63-62 on Dec. 29, 2001 in Chicago, IL.


        Missouri: Quin Snyder (Duke ’89) 116-79 at MU and overall (6th season).

        DePaul: Dave Leitao (Northeastern ’83) 57-33 at DU (3rd season) and 77-67 overall (5th season).


Tigers Face DePaul in First Round of National Invitation Tournament

The University of Missouri basketball squad welcomes DePaul to Columbia on Tuesday as it begins play in the 2005 National Invitation Tournament. This is Mizzou’s sixth appearance in the NIT and their eighth straight postseason appearance overall. The Tigers were selected to the tourney with a 16-16 overall mark and a 7-9 record in the Big 12 while DePaul checks in with a 19-10 overall record and a 10-6 mark in Conference USA.

        The Tigers enter Tuesday’s contest winners of six of their last nine. They have won four straight games at home and have registered a 14-4 mark in the opening season of the Mizzou Arena including a 3-0 mark against ranked teams. Leading the Tigers into NIT action is All-Big 12 Honorable mention honoree Linas Kleiza. He is averaging 15.8 points  (10th in the Big 12) and 7.6 rebounds (5th in the Big 12) on the season and is second in the league in double-doubles with 10. He was named to the Big 12 All-Tournament Team after averaging 29.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per contest in the tourney.  

        Tuesday’s contest, which is set to tip at 8 p.m. CST, will be broadcast on the Mizzou Radio Network with the ‘Voice of the Tigers’ Mike Kelly handling the play-by-play duties and former Tiger great Gary Link offering his expert analysis. The game will also be broadcast to a nationwide audience on the world wide leader in sports, ESPN. Ron Franklin will be calling a Tiger game for the second time this season while Fran Fraschilla will be offering up analysis of the contest.

        The Tigers are 0-1 this season on ESPN after falling to No. 6 Kansas on Big Monday on Jan. 31 in Lawrence, KS. 


Quick Hits

The Tigers enter the National Invitation Tournament having won six of their last nine games ... The Tigers have qualified for the post season in each of the last eight seasons including six straight under sixth year head Coach Quin Snyder ... This is Mizzou’s seventh all-time appearance in the NIT Tournament and 28th postseason tournament appearance overall ... Mizzou is 14-4 at home, 1-4 in neutral court contests and 1-8 on the road this season ... The all-time series between DU and MU is tied at 2-2 ... The two schools have never faced each other in postseason play and only once have they squared off in a tournament at the Maui Invitational in 1997, a 45-42 Tiger win ... The last time the Blue Demons visited Columbia, the Tigers were able to take care of them, 99-84 on Dec. 6, 2000 ... The Tigers were 3-0 this season at home against ranked teams and a respectable 3-4 against ranked teams overall ... They defeated No. 12 Gonzaga at Mizzou Arena on Dec. 30, then topped No. 16 Oklahoma in overtime on Feb. 12 and wrapped up the regular season with a 72-68 win over No. 7 Kansas on Mar. 6, 2004 ... Mizzou played 20 home games this season (including exhibition games), which is a new school record ...  The Tigers are 9-2 in day games this season ... Coach Quin  Snyder is looking for win number 117 at Mizzou ... He is 1-1 all-time vs. DePaul ...  Sophomore Linas Kleiza has led Mizzou in either scoring, rebounding or in both categories in 24 of the Tigers’ 32 games so far this season ...  Kleiza has ten double-doubles on the season ... He has averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds over the course of the Tigers’ last four games ... Junior Jimmy McKinney was named to the academic All-Big 12 Team for his outstanding work in the classroom this season.


About the Blue Demons

The Demons check in with a 19-10 overall record and finished with a 10-6 mark in Conference USA regular season play. They are making their 15th all-time appearance in the NIT and are 14-15 in those contests.

        Senior Quemont Greer leads the Demons in scoring averaging 18.3 points and is averaging 7.4 rebounds per contest. He was named first team All-Conference USA along with fellow senior Drake Diener, who was named to the third team. Diener is regarded as one of the most accurate 3-point shooters in the country as he has knocked down 75-of-166 three point attempts (45.2 percent) on the year including 51-of-101 3-pointers (50.5 percent) during the conference season. Sophomore Sammy Mejia has also come on as the most versatile player on the court for the Demons. He averages 11.6 points and 5.1 boards per game, is second on the squad in assists with 95 and leads the team in steals with 36.

        The  Demons got off to a great start at 14-5, but would split their last ten contests to finish with a 19-10 record after falling to Alabama-Birmingham in the second round of the Conference USA Tournament on Thursday.                  

        Third year head Coach Dave Leitao has led the Demons to a 57-33 mark during his time at DePaul and his teams have recorded more conference wins (30) in his three years than in any other three-year period in school history.


Series - Tied, 2-2 - Last Meeting: DU, 63-62 on Dec. 29, 2001 in Chicago, IL.


Mizzou’s NIT History

6 NIT Appearances * 1-6 NIT Mark

Year     Rd.       Site                              Opp.                 W/L      Score

1972         1st            New York, N.Y.                        St. John’s                  L              82-81 (ot)

1973         1st            New York, N.Y.                        Massachusetts           L              78-71

1985         1st            Columbia, Mo.                           St. Joseph’s               L              68-67

1996         1st            Columbia, Mo.                           Murray State              W             89-85

                2nd           Tuscaloosa, Ala.                         Alabama                    L              72-49

1998         1st            Columbia, Mo.                           Ala.-Birm.                  L              93-86

2004         1st            Ann Arbor, Mich.                        Michigan                   L              65-64


A Look Back ... Mizzou vs. No. 17 Oklahoma

The Tigers clawed back from being down by as many as 17 points to grab a one point lead with 1:26 left in the contest, but were unable to hold on as the No. 1-seeded Sooners advanced to the semifinals of the Phillips 66 Big 12 Tournament. Below are a couple other notes of from the contest ...


Missouri Team Notes after the Oklahoma Game

- Missouri is now 16-16 overall.

- It has gone 14-4 at home, 1-8 on the road and 1-4 in neutral court battles.

- Mizzou is now 9-2 this season in games played during the day.

- Mizzou falls to 3-4 on the year vs. teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25.

- The last six contests between OU and MU have been decided by six points for less.

- Tiger Coach Quin Snyder is now 116-79 overall during his six year tenure at Mizzou

- Coach Snyder is now 8-6 in Big 12 Tournament games.

- Mizzou faced a 13-4 rebounding deficit in the first 10 minutes of the game; at halftime the deficit was down to two (19-17).

- As a team, the Tigers knocked down 33-of-36 free throws, setting a new Big 12 Tournament mark for accuracy at 91.7 percent on the day.

- Mizzou made a school record tying 23 consecutive free throws during the contest.  The effort matched the 1996-97 Tiger team which made 23 in a row at Kansas State.

- The contest with OU featured eight lead changes and six ties.


Missouri Player Notes after the OklahomaGame

- A Kevin Young tip-in of a Linas Kleiza miss at 5:27 in the first half sparked Mizzou to an 11-0 run which cut the OU lead from 16 points to five with 2:13 left in the first half.

- The 33 points by sophomore forward Linas Kleiza tied the Mizzou record for points by a single player in a Big 12 Tournament game; Kareem Rush set the mark versus Tech Tech in 2001.

- The 33-point outing was a career best for Kleiza along with his 17-of-19 effort at the free throw line.

- Kleiza’s 33 points scored was the most points by a Tiger since the 2003 NCAA Tournament second round when Rickey Paulding dumped in 36 points in an overtime loss to Marquette.

- Kleiza was remarkable in the second half of the contest as he scored 23 of his 33 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field and 13-of-14 accuracy from the free throw line.

- Jimmy McKinney made a career-high 10 free throws and equaled a career-best with 10 attempts on his way to 14 points on the afternoon.


Living Large with Lenny

Over the course of the Tigers’ last four games, sophomore Linas Kleiza has been one of the best players in college basketball. Thats right ... slice it any way you want to, but the native of Kaunas, Lithuania has put together a great stretch of games and a very solid season as he continues to improve for the Tigers.

        He has averaged 20.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game during during the last four games including 29.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in the Tigers’ two Big 12 Tournament games. He recorded a career-best 33 points against Oklahoma in the second round of the Big 12 Tournament and knocked down 28-of-31 free throws in those two contests.


The Case for Kleiza

Last Three Games

Opp.                               Min.     Pts.      FG/A       Pct.          FT/A        Pct.          Reb.

No. 7 Kansas                   34         15        1-8           .125         12-18       .667         14

Nebraska                         34         26        7-15         .467         11-12       .917         11

No. 17 Oklahoma           36         33        7-15         .467         17-19       .895         7

Averages  34.7         24.7         15-38       .395         40-49       .816         10.7


Kleiza Named to Big 12 All-Tournament Team

Sophomore Linas Kleiza was named to the Phillips 66 All-Big 12 Tournament Team following Sunday’s Championship game. Kleiza averaged 29.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in the Tigers’ two games. He is the first Tiger to earn all-tournament honors since Rickey Paulding and Arthur Johnson were named to the squad in 2003 during the Tigers run to the tournament final.

        Kleiza was outstanding in the Tigers’ tourney opener against Nebraska when he recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 26 points and 11 rebounds. He was 11-of-12 from the free throw line and 7-of-15 from the field against the Huskers to lead Mizzou to its eighth straight Big 12 Tournament opening round win on Thursday.

        On Friday, Kleiza continued his magical play scoring a career-best 33 points on 7-of-15 shooting from the field against No.1-seed Oklahoma. The Kaunas, Lithuania native knocked in a career-best 17-of-19 free throws against OU. His 33-point outing was the most points scored by a Tiger since Rickey Paulding scored 36 points against Marquette in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and equaled the most points an MU player has scored in a Big 12 Tournament game.

        Others named to the team included Joey Graham (Tournament MVP, Oklahoma State), Wayne Simien (Kansas), Ronald Ross (Texas Tech) and John Lucas (Oklahoma State).


T-Mac Gets It Done vs. Kansas

No, Tracy McGrady didn’t secretly throw on the Black and Gold on Sunday against the Jayhawks, but Thomas Gardner (his teammates call him “T”) and Jimmy McKinney (his teammates call him “Mac”) did put on quite a performance for the sellout house on Sunday. The dynamic duo combined to go 14-of-20 from inside the 3-point line (70.0 percent)  against the Jayhawks and were 11-of-12 from the free throw line. They were particularly impressive in the first half as they combined to shoot 8-of-11 from the field including 5-of-5 from three.

        Gardner was outstanding, equaling a career-best with 23 points while pulling down five boards. He was 8-of-13 from the field including 6-of-8 from inside the 3-point arc (2-of-5 from beyond) and knocked down 5-of-6 free throws.

        McKinney was a blazing 6-of-7 from the field  including 3-of-3 from 3-point land on his way to 21 points, which equals a career best. McKinney also knocked down 6-of-6 free throws and handed out four assists as he put together one of the best games of his career.


Freshman Excelling in Crash Course

All four members of the Tiger freshman class have seen significant playing time this season for the Tigers and have all stepped up and played key roles when Mizzou has been successful. Jason Horton, Marshall Brown, Kalen Grimes and Glen Dandridge have all been put into the fire of Big 12 Conference play and have gained valuable experience heading into the post season.

        Horton has started 23 games and has averaged a 30.9 minutes per contest. He has led Mizzou in scoring in three games this season and has become the first freshman to lead the Tigers in assists (101) since Keyon Dooling handed out 113 dimes in his first year at Mizzou.

        Brown has been the Tigers been perimeter shooter from a percentage standpoint. He has knocked down a team-best 39.3 percent of his three point attempts (22-of-56) and has seen action in all 32 games while registering six starts on the season. He has reached double figures in scoring in five games this season.

        Grimes and Dandridge have both played key roles off of the bench for the Tigers. Dandridge has knocked down 12 threes on the season and Grimes has pulled down four or more boards in a game five times while playing excellent defense with 18 blocks on the year.


Over the Table and Dreaming

The University of Missouri marketing staff, headed up by marketing guru Frank Cuervo, is kicking around the idea of a new promotion for Tiger men’s basketball games. Besides the ‘Nothing-but-Noodles Kiss Cam’ and the Chevy’s Fresh Mex ‘Tiger Trivia’ promotion which are both wildly popular, there has been some thought to a promotion that the winner gets to have Tiger senior guard Jason Conley land in their lap after one of his patented leaps over Tiger Row.

        Conley ended up amongst the people twice during the Oklahoma contest, running headlong over the table while attempting to create another Sooner turnover. The Tiger faithful were very appreciative of the effort put forth by Conley as he earned a standing ovation both times he sacrificed life and limb.

        So keep your eye out for ‘Crashing into Coop’ brought to you by the Missouri Basketball Team.


Tigers Set School Record for Team GPA in Fall Semester

The University of Missouri men’s basketball team continues to achieve both on and off the court this season. With final grades et for the 2004 fall semester at Mizzou, the reports show that the men’s basketball team has established a record for its team grade point average. Bryan Maggard, MU’s Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services, says that the Tiger men’s team came in with a cumulative team GPA of 2.91 this past fall - which was the highest single semester mark in recorded history for an MU men’s basketball squad.

        According to Maggard, four Tiger cagers had GPAs of over 3.0 on the standard 4.0 scale, and two will earn a place on the coveted Dean’s List.

        The achievement comes on the heels of the 2004 NCAA Graduation Report, which shows that the Missouri men’s basketball team led the Big 12 Conference in graduation rates, at 67%. The next-best rate in the league belonged to Colorado (40%), followed by Texas Tech and Kansas (33%) and Nebraska (20%). The rates represent students who enrolled in 1997-98 and graduated within six years.


Shouldering the Load

Linas Kleiza has recovered fully from a shoulder separation he experienced half way through last season and he has shouldered a major part of the Tiger offense this season. The All-Big 12 Preseason Honorable Mention recipient has been amazing offensively so far this season and continues to improve on defense.

        Kleiza was unstoppable in the Big 12 Tournament averaging 29.5 points and 9.0 rebounds in the Tigers’ two games. The talented sophomore was amazing against Kansas, scoring 15 points and pulling down 14 boards, good for his ninth double-double of the season. Kleiza registered the 11th double-double of his career against Texas with 12 points and 10 rebounds. He moved into third on the Big 12 double-doubles list against Colorado when he scored 10 points and pulled down 10 rebounds against the Buffs. The native of Kaunas, Lithuania continued to have his way with Nebraska, scoring a game-high 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. Kleiza also had a huge day against No. 16 Oklahoma, tying Thomas Gardner for team-high honors with 18 points while also pulling down 13 boards in the win.

        He returned to the Tiger starting lineup  after a three-game hiatus against UNLV. He scored a game-high 24 points and also pulled down eight rebounds against the Rebels and knocked down 9-of-17 shots.

        He registered his fifth double-double of the season against Kansas State in Columbia, scoring 11 points and pulling down 11 rebounds on the night .

        Kleiza put together an amazing effort against Nebraska in Columbia, scoring a career-best 31 points on 8-of-12 shooting from the field. He also knocked down 15-of-17 free throws against the Huskers on his way to his fourth double-double of the season.

        Despite four turnovers against Texas Tech, Kleiza was able to record his third double-double of the season against the Red Raiders, scoring 10 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. The offensive juggernaut reached the 20-point plateau for the fourth time this season against Oklahoma State when he dumped in 24 points while going a perfect 13-of-13 from the free throw line. Kleiza scored 25 (of Mizzou’s 64) points, pulled down seven rebounds and handed out three assists against Illinois.

        After scoring just three points in the opening half against Indiana, Kleiza poured in 15 of his game-high 18 points in the second half including 12 free throws in the win.

        He had one the best offensive game of his career against Montana, scoring a then career-best 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field. He broke out of mini-scoring funk with 13 points, nine boards and nine assists against Oakland while turning the ball over just one time, something he has been focusing on improving all season. He is definitely Mizzou’s most versatile player as he leads the team in scoring (15.2  ppg.), rebounds (7.4 rpg.) and is fourth on the squad in assists (47).


A Peek at the Mizzou Arena

On September 21, 2002, a new and exciting phase for Missouri Basketball began with the groundbreaking for a brand new, $75 million state-of-the-art facility.  The new arena is an imposing place to play for opposing teams and provides unbelievable options for the Tigers when it comes to player development.  In addition to more seating, with a capacity of 15,061, there are a host of other exciting additions:


Ø 26 Luxury Suites

Ø State-of-the art training room

Ø Expanded locker room facilities complete with film room and player lounge

Ø Practice gym

Ø Basketball office complex

Ø Box office and team store

Ø Missouri Athletics Hall of Fame


Mizzou Arena houses all the up-to-date technologies desired in a modern sports facility.  Both men’s and women’s basketball programs have video game film viewing theaters; all coaches offices and meeting rooms have cable TV hook-ups and both private (suites, clubs) and public (concession stands, retail store) areas throughout the arena have direct-game and cable televisions in place.  Adjacent to the west side truck dock are dedicated and secured television production and satellite truck parking areas with permanent patch-in panels.  The arena contains a center-hung scoreboard-video board as well as 30" high video ribbon board located above the luxury suites where the lower and upper seating bowl transition occurs.


New Editions

No, I am not going to break into a rendition of “Cool it Now” or “Candy Girl” (as much as you all would enjoy that) but Mizzou has two members of its staff that are beginning new editions of their careers. And like the group “New Edition,” you might say that the newest members of the Tiger coaching family are old school.

        Associate Head Coach Melvin Watkins joined the Tigers in July after six years as head coach at Texas A&M and a two year stint as head coach at UNC-Charlotte. Watkins has brought a wealth of experience and energy to the Tiger bench. The other new face on the Tiger bench is assistant coach Jeff Meyer, who most recently was an assistant at Butler University for three years. Meyer brings 25 years of coaching experience to Mizzou including 16 years as a head coach at Liberty University. He also joined the Tiger bench in July.


Coach Quin Snyder

6th Year at MU


        In his sixth year at the helm of the Mizzou basketball program is Quin Snyder. Missouri’s 15th head coach, Snyder has built a program that has joined the upper echelon of college basketball. With a focus on developing players academically, physically, skillfully and socially, Snyder’s squads have enjoyed trips to the post season in each of the last five seasons including four trips to the NCAA Tournament. Mizzou has averaged exactly 20.0 wins per contest during Snyder’s five-year tenure at Mizzou. The intense competitor the Tiger players call “Coach Q” won his 100th career game last season when Mizzou defeated Texas A&M in the Big 12 Tournament. He became the fourth coach in Mizzou school history to reach the 100-win plateau and Snyder will have a great opportunity to add to that total with a contract that will keep him as a fixture on the Tiger bench through 2007-08.

        In 2004-05, Mizzou returns several of its top players  including senior Jason Conley, junior Jimmy McKinney and sophomores Thomas Gardner and Linas Kleiza. Snyder and his staff also gathered a sixth straight Top 25 recruiting class to augment the already talented roster. Mizzou has moved to a new state-of-the-art home this season, the Mizzou Arena, which holds around 15,000 rowdy Missouri fans and gives the Tigers an unbelievable opportunity to build on the foundation of success that has been established.

        Given the success and excitement Snyder’s squads have generated in his five years at the helm, it is not surprising that Tiger fans are looking for big things from Mizzou in 2004-05. In 2003-04, Snyder led the Tigers to wins over Top 20 teams such as Oklahoma State and Oklahoma. He also saw his second recruiting class of Arthur Johnson, Rickey Paulding, Travon Bryant and Josh Kroenke complete outstanding careers at Mizzou. Johnson and Paulding both jumped into the Top 10 on the Tiger scoring charts and Johnson finished his career as the Tigers’ all-time leader in blocked shots and rebounds. That outstanding class also finished their career having played in the most NCAA Tournament contests of any class in school history with eight.

        A native of the Pacific Northwest, Snyder, 37, attended Mercer Island High School in the state of Washington. A two-time state player of the year, Snyder led the team to the 1985 state championship. During this time, Mercer Island achieved a No. 1 ranking in USA Today’s high school polls. Snyder was named a McDonald’s All-America player, being the first ever chosen from the state of Washington.

                Snyder and his wife, the former Helen Redwine, a native of Charlotte, N.C, have one son, Owen Redwine Snyder, born on December 25, 2002.

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