On Wednesday night, Rick Stansbury will be honored (because he’s our winningest coach) at Humphrey Coliseum as he returns for the first time since being retired after the 2012 season. He is, of course, an assistant coach for the Texas A&M Aggies.
With that in mind, I present to you my top 10 moments from the 14-year Stansbury era of 1999-2012…
10. Tornado game in 2008 – it was a 69-67 win over Alabama in 2nd round of the SEC Tournament, but what made it memorable was the tornado that ripped through downtown Atlanta during the overtime. I can’t remember the exact scenario, but it was something like Stans had to make a decision whether or not to foul up by three at the end of regulation and he choose not to foul and Bama made a three to tie it. If he had decided to foul and the game ended in regulation there’s a good chance most of the crowd would have been outside the Georgia Dome, and in harm’s way, when the tornado came through.
9. Top 5 Stansbury phrases – this isn’t really a moment or a game, but I had to include them:
- “If you had told me ____”
- “Having to go on the road”
- “I can promise you this”
- “The chance of us ___”
8. 2007 SEC Tourney vs. UK –
7. 2003 vs. Ole Miss – Specifically, the SEC Tournament game which gave the Bulldogs the hat trick over Ole Miss. The two regular season games were really more exciting than this one but it’s not that often you get to beat your rival three times in one season. This is also an homage to his phenomenal 21-8 record vs. the Rebs.
6. Stuff I remember from being a student during the glory years:
- for the final game of the 2007 season vs. Alabama, Rick bought all the students a hot dog and a coke. I was a super senior and short on funds so this was a big deal for me.
- there was a ton of anticipation for the 2005 season after 1st team All-American Lawrence Roberts announced he was coming back for his senior year. In a blunder by the MSU athletic department, they declared that only members of the Rick’s Rowdies would be guaranteed a set of season tickets, and good luck to the rest. So I, along with a thousand or so others, joined to get the tickets. During the first meeting at the Hump, Lawrence Roberts fell on his neck during practice. While the leaders of the rowdies continued to talk like nothing was going on, we all watched in shock as Roberts was carried away on a gurney. Luckily, nothing became of it, but I’ll always remember that.
5. 2009 SEC Tournament Championship –
4. 2002 SEC Tournament Champs – Alabama won the 2002 regular season SEC title but State took them down in the SEC Tournament Championship Game. This win was the 26th of the season which tied a program record which they broke the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
3. “The choke” – February of 2004 Stansbury gave referee Karl Hess the a choke gesture (pic) as he was walking to the locker room after his second technical foul. State won the game 80-54 over Ole Miss and Stans got a a slap on the wrist from Mike Slive.
2. 2002 vs. Kentucky – 2002 was a breakout season for Stans and this may have been his breakout game. Mario Austin hit a three to send it to overtime and the Dawgs beat #6 UK.
1. 2004 SEC Championship – to secure Stansbury’s only regular season SEC title and only the second since the Babe McCarthy era, it took an incredible comeback vs. Alabama:
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The Tide came out firing and led by 18 points at halftime. It was a shocking turn of events as MSU had not let anyone pull away from them all season.
With 8:32 to play the Dawgs were still down by 16 (64-48), but State began a furious comeback kicked off by a pair of threes from Shane Power. With 3:06 left, Mississippi State had tied the game at 67. The rest of the game was scrapped out between two teams giving their all.
With :25 to play, State found themselves down again 75-70, but senior Timmy Bowers put a stamp on his legacy with a three and then he hit a jump shot at the top of the key after a Earnest Shelton missed a free throw. The game went into overtime.
In OT, Bowers had even more magic. Frazier had fouled out and he took an aggressive approach and hit a trey early in the period. Down 81-80 he drove the lane and got off a shot under the basket with :01 left. Roberts intercepted the hail-mary inbounds pass and MSU became SEC Champions.