Editor's note: This story originally was published on Feb. 17, 1981.
Tulsa jabbed. Wichita State jabbed.
Tulsa flailed away on WSU’s jaw. But the Shockers returned the favor.
It was a knockdown, dragout basketball game designed as a heavyweight title match.
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When it was over, both teams were a bloody mess. But Tulsa was a smiling bloody mess, having won over th 14th-ranked Shocker 74-72 in two overtimes Monday night at Henry Levitt Arena.
Tulsa had all kinds of first-half chances to level the Shockers. WSU had its opportunities to floor Tulsa in the second half. It was Ali-Frazier all over again.
The knockout punch, delivered in the guise of of four David Brown free throws in the final 25 seconds, was swift and solid.
Actually, the Shockers seemed to have no business staying with Tulsa in the overtimes. They entered them with starters Cliff Levingston, Ozell Jones and Tony Martin finished for the evening with five fouls apiece.
But this was not a game that made sense. The Shockers, with reserves Jay Jackson, Mike Jones and James Gibbs helping to man the fort, managed to keep the game tied in the first overtime, thanks to some blow Tulsa shots. WSU did even better in the second overtime, leading 71-68 with 1:01 to go.
But Tulsa’s Phil Spradling hit a jumper from the baseline with 52 seconds to go, then picked up a steal — which was quickly followed by a turnover.
Tulsa’s Greg Stewart then fouled Mike Jones with 27 seconds to go, but he missed the one-and-one. Not matter. WSU was called for a lane violation anyway.Jones fouled Tulsa’s Brown with 25 seconds to go as the Shockers, though leading by one point, elected to use their full-court press. Brown, a cool 6-foot-8 junior, hit both free throws, giving the Hurricane a 72-71 lead.
WSU played the ball in, then called time out with 21 seconds. The Shockers were going for the final shot.
Antoine Carr, WSU’s big gun during regulation who was hounded by three Hurricane playes during the overtimes, got off a shot from inside the lane which bounced away. Jackson retrieved it and passed to freshman Karl Papke, who replaced Mike Jones after he fouled out. Papke, who was open for a moment, dribbled into trouble. He lost the ball, then Jackson fouled Brown with one second left. He swished two more.
Tulsa has now beaten the Shockers twice, WSU’s only Missouri Valley Conference losses. Tulsa is now 9-4 in the conference. Wichita State dropped to 10-2 and 19-3.
Shocker coach Gene Smithson admitted WSU didn’t play as well as it could have. And he vehemently suggested that Sturdy Wannamaker an Kent Henry didn’t officiate as well as they could have.
“It was just terrible,” Smithson said of the officiating. “I don’t criticize officials, but this was unbelievable. I don’t want to take anything away from Tulsa because they’re a fine basketball team. But this was the worst officiating I’ve seen.”
If it was bad, it wasn’t because Wannamaker and Henry weren’t working. They whistled 57 fouls, 31 of them against Wichita State.
Tulsa led by as many as 13, 20-7, in the first half. The Shockers had made it a game, however, by halftime when they trailed 33-25.
WSU had its turn to take control in the second half, when it led 52-44 with only 7:52 to go and still had a 58-53 advantage with 34 seconds remaining.