All-America Wayman Tisdale overpowered Illinois State with 29 points to lift Oklahoma to a 75-69 NCAA Midwest Regional second-round victory over the Redbirds Saturday, giving the Sooners the first 30-win season in Big Eight history.
Tisdale scored 18 of his points in the second half as Oklahoma won for the 20th time in the last 21 games. The Sooners improved their record to 30-5, bettering both the school and conference records of 29 victories set by Oklahoma a year ago.
The win moves the Sooners into the Midwest Regional semifinals in Dallas next weekend against Louisiana Tech, which defeated Ohio State, 79-67, in Saturday's other Midwest Regional game.
"I feel it was pretty mediocre," Tisdale said of his performance. "I played hard and that's what coach (Billy Tubbs) asked me to do. But the guards got me the ball the best they ever have--I give the scoring credit to all the guards."
Oklahoma's perimeter players Anthony Bowie, Darryl Kennedy and Tim McCalister had seven assists apiece and found ways to beat the double and occasionally triple-teaming of Tisdale with their passes.
"We tried to alter Wayman's shot," Illinois State forward Lou Stefanovic said, "but today he just wouldn't miss any."
When the Sooner guards couldn't get the ball in to their 6-9 center, they shot it in themselves. Oklahoma sank 66% of its shots.
"I think we positioned ourselves well against Tisdale," Illinois State Coach Bob Donewald said. "We wanted to rotate so that they would have to shoot the ball from the outside. We rotated, but Kennedy got some shots. But I wasn't unhappy with the way we played Wayman."
Tisdale hit 14-of-16 shots and also grabbed eight rebounds. Kennedy added 16 points and McCalister and Bowie 12 apiece for Oklahoma, while Stefanovic scored 21 points to pace Illinois State, which finished 22-8.
Louisiana Tech 79, Ohio State 67--Karl Malone overcame a shaky start to score a season-high 27 points and also grab 14 rebounds in powering the Bulldogs (29-2) to the win.
"Physically, Malone is as strong as any player we've played against this year," said Ohio State Coach Eldon Miller. "They're going to be a force to contend with down the road. They have an outstanding front line."
Malone was visibly tight at the start, lofting an air ball on his first shot and then barely drawing iron on his next two attempts--all before 80 seconds had expired. He was charged with an offensive foul 96 seconds into the game and when he was called for traveling at 2:12, Tech Coach Andy Russo put his star on the bench.
Malone returned four minutes later and served as the impetus as the Bulldogs raced to a 37-26 halftime lead. He scored his first basket off an offensive rebound, followed that with a fast-break dunk and then hit a turnaround jumper in the lane to start the 13-2 run that gave Tech the lead to stay at 24-18.