The last time Larry Brown and Danny Manning stood together on a collegiate basketball court, the pair ended the night cutting down the nets after leading Kansas to the 1988 NCAA Championship with a victory against Oklahoma.
Brown, the Jayhawks’ mentor, won his only trophy as a college head coach behind Manning’s 31-point and 18-rebound performance that earned him the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award.
But on Sunday night in Dallas, Brown and Manning were together again on the college court – both as head coaches for their respective Conference USA clubs. Brown was at the helm of SMU after making a return to the college ranks following a lengthy career as an NBA head coach, while Manning was in his rookie season as Tulsa’s head coach after a long career as an NBA player and several years as college assistant.
While the game was almost secondary to the meeting between Brown and Manning, the conference-opening contest did not disappoint, especially in the closing seconds.
Tulsa nipped SMU 48-47 after Pat Swilling Jr., caught an inbounds pass and buried a 3-pointer from the corner despite a swarm of Mustang defenders with 3.8 seconds left on the clock. The Golden Hurricane led 34-17 at halftime, but Brown and the Mustangs made adjustments and held Tulsa to just 14 points after the break.
“If you look at the stat sheet, it was a tale of two halves,” Manning said. “We shot the ball well in the first half, particularly Pat [Swilling]. He carried us … he made a lot of big shots. In the second half they came out, Coach Brown made great adjustments. They played great in the second half. We played well for about a minute, to be honest with you, and that was the last minute of the game, in terms of executing. Pat made a big shot, and we were very fortunate to come out with a win. It was a different flow in both halves, and we’re just fortunate to come out with a road win in league play.”
“We had a four-point lead with fouls to give and 22 seconds left … it’s unacceptable,” Brown said.
The much-anticipated matchup between coach and player was just the second between a head coach and MOP for an NCAA title team. The rarity also happened in 1950 when Howie Dallmar, the 1942 MOP for Stanford, was coaching Penn and hosted his former coach Everett Dean, who was still at the helm of the Cardinal program. Dallmar’s Penn squad edged Dean’s Stanford team 59-58 in that contest.
“The funny thing, to be honest with you, is this game was not Coach Brown vs. me,” Manning said. “It was SMU vs. Tulsa. Nobody talked about the players in the game. Those are the guys that are playing. We played a good first half. They played a good second half. All-in-all it was an entertaining game. Both sides played hard.”
“I didn’t like the idea of playing against [Manning], but once the game went on I wasn’t thinking about Danny,” Brown said. “We were thinking about our teams and how we could win a game.”
Brown will get another shot at his pupil on March 6 when the two programs play in Tulsa for their second regular-season meeting.
• The No. 10 Gonzaga men’s basketball team enjoyed a successful three-game road trip last week, downing then-No. 22 Oklahoma State, Pepperdine and Santa Clara as the Zags improved to 15-1 on the season. Junior Kelly Olynk averaged 23.3 points and 7.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 65.7 percent from the field during the three-game stretch. Olynk netted a career-high 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in the Zags’ 81-74 defeat of Santa Clara on Saturday as they extended their winning streak to six games.
• No. 12 Tennessee rattled off a pair of victories to begin Southeastern Conference play last week, downing No. 18 South Carolina 73-53 on Thursday and No. 10 Georgia 79-66 on Sunday. Freshman Bashaara Graves scored a career-high 23 points against Georgia in the Lady Vols’ first victory against a top-10 opponent this season. It was the 10th time this season Graves scored in double-figures.
• The No. 4 Oklahoma women’s gymnastics team rallied for their first victory against Georgia in Athens as the Sooners defeated the No. 11 Gym Dogs, 196.450.195.425 on Saturday. It was also the Sooners’ first season-opening dual meet victory since 2001. Junior Taylor Spears placed first in the all-around with a 39.375, earning the fourth all-around title in her career. Freshman Haley Scaman won the floor title with a 9.875 and tied with Spears and Brie Olson for first place on bars at 9.875 apiece.
• The top-ranked Penn State wrestling team claimed its third consecutive Southern Scuffle title with five wrestlers advancing to the finals and three claiming championships on Jan. 2. The Nittany Lions won the tournament with 178.5 points, outdistancing themselves from second-place Oklahoma State (158 points). Sophomore All-American Nico Megaaludis, ranked No. 2 at 125 pounds, posted an 8-4 decision against No. 8 Matt Snyder of Virginia in the finals, while top-ranked senior Quentin Wright improved to 14-0 on the season with five consecutive victories, including a pin against No. 9 Jake Meredith of Arizona State in the championship match at 197 pounds.
• The Nebraska-Omaha men’s hockey team took first place in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association with a sweep of Colorado College, moving one point ahead of St. Cloud State in the standings. Senior goaltender John Faulkner picked up his 11th victory of the season and 49th of his career with 20 saves in a 3-1 win against the Tigers on Saturday. He is just four wins shy of tying Dan Ellis for the most all-time victories by a UNO goalie.
• The No. 1 Norwich men’s hockey team suffered its’ first defeat of the season, falling to Neumann 5-3 in the Northfield Bank Tournament Championship on Saturday. Chris Bournazos netted two goals, including the game-winner, to garner Most Valuable Player honors of the tournament. It was head coach Dominick Dawes’ first victory against his alma mater. The fifth-year head coach played in three Division III Championships at Norwich, and helped the Cadets win the 2003 NCAA title.
|THE DIGIT||THE 4-1-1|
||With a convincing 90-53 victory against Boston College on Sunday, No. 3 Duke remained the lone unbeaten team in Division I women’s basketball at 13-0. Connecticut and Colorado also started the week undefeated, but suffered losses to Notre Dame and Stanford, respectively, leaving the Blue Devils as the only perfect squad. Chelsea Gray notched her second career triple-double in the game with 18 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists for Duke.|
|8||North Dakota State won its eighth consecutive postseason victory, knocking off Sam Houston State 39-13 in a title game rematch as the Bison claimed their second consecutive FCS championship. NDSU quarterback Brock Jensen rushed for three touchdowns in the contest.|
|13||The No. 1 North Central (Ill.) men’s basketball team held off No. 8 Wheaton (Ill.) 69-55 in a Division III matchup on Saturday as the Cardinals set a school record for consecutive victories with 13. The Cardinals are now 13-0 and improved to 2-0 in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin standings.|
|14||The No. 5 Boston College women’s hockey team stretched their unbeaten streak to 14 games (12-0-2) and winning streak to nine – the longest in school history — with victories against No. 2 Clarkson and St. Lawrence during the weekend. Goaltender Corinne Boyles recorded 38 saves in the 4-3 overtime win against St. Lawrence, earning her 11th consecutive decision.|
|52||Wayne State (Neb.) saw its 52-game home winning streak finally came to an end as Concordia-St. Paul upended the No. 19 Wildcats 56-46 in Division II women’s basketball on Friday. Wayne State’s last home loss was the final game of the 2008-09 season to Southwest Minnesota State (62-67) on February 25, 2009. The Division II home winning-streak record is held by Nebraska-Kearney at 87 games (Jan. 31, 1995 to Nov. 21, 2001).|
|2,711||A record crowd of 2,711 fans watched the Princeton men’s hockey team upend No. 8 Dartmouth 2-1 on Saturday, which was also the 90th anniversary of the first game at Hobey Baker Rink.|
• Forward Paul Jones recorded a game-high 16 points to lead No. 5 Western Washington to a 66-56 win against No. 7 Seattle Pacific in a battle of top-10 teams in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest on Thursday. The defending national champion Vikings improved to 11-0 overall and 2-0 in the GNAC. WWU also stretched its winning streak to 17 games, which dates back to last season.
• It is difficult to replace a legend, but St. John’s (Minn.) has hired assistant Gary Fasching to do just that. Fasching takes the reins from John Gagliardi, the all-time college football leader in coaching victories. Gagliardi coached the Johnnies for 60 seasons and retired last month with a record of 489-138-11. Fasching has served as an assistant under Gagliardi for the last 17 years.
• According to a Tallahassee.com report, Florida State senior baseball player Steven Spradling survived a skydiving accident on Dec. 30, but sustained multiple injuries, including a broken pelvis and broken hips. Spradling, an outfielder from Boynton Beach, who is said to be an extreme sports enthusiast, was hospitalized in Melbourne after the crash landing. He will likely spend months recovering from the injuries. Spradling batted .262 in 42 as a junior college transfer last season.
• Senior Morgan Dumbaugh scored a game-high 17 points and senior Joanna Snyder contributed 16 as No. 12 Ohio Northern earned a 62-45 win against No. 13 Mount Union in Division III women’s basketball on Saturday. The Polar Bears remain unbeaten in Ohio Athletic Conference action (6-0) and have won 11 consecutive games.
Follow Amy Farnum on Twitter: @NCAA_Amy