First, this was a game scheduled for symbolic and historical reasons rather than basketball reasons, so be sure to read one of the stories out there on the game that's being commemorated. This is the stuff of a good movie script:
A plane was ready to carry them to Michigan, but there was fear of being stopped by police.
So the team managers and bench players were sent to check things out.
When all was clear, the rest of the team made a break for it.
"We took off as fast as we could," Hutton said.
The story goes that the sheriff was on his way to the airport with an injunction to stop the flight, but he never made it.
"As we were taxiing out, the deputy sheriff came driving through, that's how close it was," Shows said. "From what I understand, he had done it intentionally because he wanted us to go. The story is he had to have his coffee break."
After yesterday's utterly tragic events in Connecticut, it's easy, and appropriate, to say that sports should be put in their proper perspective. But it's also important to remember that sports have often played an important role in adjusting the world's perspective on crucial issues. And Mark Hollis et al. obviously deserve credit for making the effort to recognize the importance of that particular game, which MSU was fortunate enough to have played a small role in.
As for the basketball game itself, Tuskegee looks like a decent Division II team. The Tigers won the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular season title last year with a 16-7 record. This season, though, they're off to a rough start in nonconference play, having won only one of five games to date--and the one win was a narrow one.
The team has an odd looking statsheet, with 22 players having seen at least some court time. The coach must have really been impressed at walk-on tryouts, as that number was only 13 last season.
The team's leading scorer is 6'1" junior guard Javier McKinney, who is averaging 20.2 points per game on the strength of 40.5% three-point shooting. 6'0" senior guard Calvin Thomas is next on the list, averaging 16.0 points per game despite shooting just 28.6% from the field.
Overall, Tuskegee's issues have simply been scoring points. They're shooting just 40.6% on two-pointers and 28.7% on three-pointers. Opponents meanwhile are shooting 39.7% on three-pointers and getting to the line a whopping 34 times per game. If MSU's final margin of victory here is less than 30, it will be cause for concern.
Elsewhere, Mississippi State and Loyola will be playing in Chicago tonight at 7:00.
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