Editor's note: This story originally was published on Jan. 14, 1983.
Antoine Carr promised and Antoine Carr delivered.
“I’m a man of my word,” he said.
Carr’s pre-game prediction of Wichita State victory over Tulsa came true Thursday night in a sold-out Levitt Arena. Carr did his part with 24 points, but he needed help from his teammates to produce the 92-74 victory.
You have to go back almost two years to the NCAA Midwest Regional semifinals when WSU beat Kansas to find a victory sweeter for the Shockers. They had lost five straight frustrating times to Tulsa, including all four matchups between Hurricane coach Nolan Richardson and WSU coach Gene Smithson.
When Smithson appeared for his post-game press briefing, someone asked him how he spelled relief.
Smithson laughed, then replied “V-I-C-T-O-R-Y.”
Carr wanted to beat Tulsa so much that he came out more than an hour before the game and shot baskets and practiced dunking the ball.
“I got myself real loose,” said Carr, who moved past Greg Carney as the school’s No. 4 career scorer with 1,546 points. “I guess you could call tihs revenge, but I think it was more like we had a great desire to win. I wanted to beat Tulsa very badly.”
The Shockers’ 11th straight victory — longest winning streak by a Smithson-coached team at WSU — was the result of devastating inside play by Carr and Xavier McDaniel, some clutch outside shooting by Aubrey Sherrod and a superb defensive effort that stifled Tulsa’s potent guard combination of Ricky Ross and Steve Harris.
“We didn’t want to be tentative,” Smithson said, remembering the past losses to Tulsa when the Shockers froze against the press.”We wanted to go right at them and we wanted to keep attacking and be aggressive on defense.
“We knew we had to respect their outside game, but we had to defense their inside game as well,” he added. “I thought we really got down on defense and helped out well.”
The victory moved the Shockers to 11-1 and kept them unbeaten in Missouri Valley Conference play at 3-0. Tulsa, which at one point was 5-1 and nationally ranked, has lost four of five games to fall to 6-5. The Hurricane is 1-2 in the conference.
The difference between the teams was evident inside, where Carr and McDaniel roamed almost at will. Carr made nine of his 14 shots and McDaniel made nine of 13 attempts, but it was on the backboards where WSU cleaned up.
Particularly McDaniel. Entering the game as the nation’s No. 4 rebounder with a 13.1 average, McDaniel claimed a career-high 22 rebounds, only seven less than the entire Tulsa team.
“I was working hard,” said McDaniel, who scored 19 points. “They were double-teaming on Antoine a lot, and that left me one-on-one with my man. I just beat him all night.”