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From 1988: Low Brass Cheer rallies Shockers

Editor's note: This story originally was published on Feb. 19, 1988.

To that long list of competitive, heart-stopping, well-played games in the storied history of the Wichita State-Tulsa basketball rivalry, don't add this one.

To the very short list of basketball games that were turned around by a pep band, go ahead and make another entry.

On second thought, maybe it's too easy to make a big deal out of the role the famous "Low Brass Cheer" played in WSU's 65-59 victory over the Golden Hurricane on Thursday night. Just because the Shockers were trailing by eight points in the first half when a renegade group of student musicians struck up the banned tune at the 6:09 mark, then promptly hit a couple of shots, got a couple of steals, and rallied back into the game practically before the cheer's echo faded, it's probably giving the band too much credit to say they had anything to do with it. None of the players on the court were carrying tubas. They just looked like they were.

Both teams put on a sloppy show, competing with each other for most bricked shots, blown layups, comical turnovers and pointless fouls.

WSU was outshot and outrebounded. But not out-cheered. The Shockers had the crowd on their side. And, yes, hand it to the outlaw band, which was tucked away furtively high up in the stands, for putting them there. As usual, it was touch and go at the start, with the fans sitting quietly as the team struggled. The band was the game's MVP.

''I heard em," said WSU forward Dwayne Praylow. "Seems like whenever they play that, the whole crowd picks up."

And Sasha Radunovich turns on. Radunovich drilled a three-point shot somewhere in the middle of "We're gonna beat the hell out of you."

Radunovich, who finished with a team-high 16 points, always responds to a noisy crowd. He gets carried away by it and forgets himself. "That's when I play the best," he said. "When I don't think too much."

Don't forget, fans, the last thing you want out there is a guy who thinks. This may be the best argument in support of reinstating the cheer.

For this season, it might be too late, though, with WSU about to hit the road for the stretch drive. The only home game WSU has left is Radford. And, as Shocker freshman John Cooper pointed out, "On the road, we're not going to have the band there."

Maybe they could tape the cheer, take it with them, and put it on their Walkmans when they walk onto the courts.

As for the rest of the game, forget it. A lowlights film classic. WSU struggled against Tulsa's zones and man-to-man defenses. Not that they were surprised by them. "We only had four days to prepare," cracked Shocker head coach Eddie Fogler.

''I knew it wouldn't be easy. I don't think either team played particularly well . . . they're a very athletic team and a lot better than their record indicates. After Bradley, they're probably the most athletic team (in the Missouri Valley Conference). But you need more than running and jumping; you need guys who can shoot."

Tulsa, young and awkward with their physical gifts, almost made you miss the good old days; the days of guys like Paul Pressey, Herbert Johnson, Steve Harris and others from the Golden Hurricane's golden past. You even sort of longed for Nolan Richardson's polka-dots.

Tracy Moore, the star holdover from last year, misses those days, too, and guys like David Moss and the Rahillys. "It's really frustrating," said Moore, a senior from Oklahoma City, who led Tulsa with 16 points. "I'm holding it inside, trying to do the best I can. I try to force a lot of shots, do too much."

''They can play," he said of his teammates, who are 7-17 and losers of their last 12 road games going back to last year. "They're just not sure of themselves. Once they get some confidence, they'll be all right."

Then maybe this rivalry will take off again.

Until then, strike up the band.

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