Tisdale Makes Sooner Fans Want to Adopt "Stepchild'

Jim Lassiter Published: December 12, 1982
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NORMAN In five years, of course, there will be eight zillion Okies claiming they were right there the week of Dec. 6-11 when the stepchildren at the University of Oklahoma became everybody's darlings.

Already the crowd has grown from 4,523 to 430,000 claiming they were present the night Wayman Tisdale made confetti of the OU basketball scoring record. And before another week has passed, there will be 500,000 and not the actual 5,280 who will say they were there Saturday when the Sooners scored the most points in their history.

The Oklahoma basketball covered bandwagon is just beginning to roll.

It's jump aboard or be crushed beneath the spoked wheels. And from the looks of the situation, those wishing to hang on to the Tisdale Express could eventually vie with the throng of sunshine patriots who follow the autumn bounces of the wishbone Sooners.

Wayman Tisdale is that good, and basketball, despite the apathetic rich guys from the oil patch who have bought up all the tickets, is that appealing. There is ample room for more than one sport at OU, and with Tisdale and Billy Tubbs leading the way, the "winter pastime" between football and spring football will eventually get there.

Look, for instance, at the results of this week alone. On a Monday night game against an overmatched small college team, the 6-9 Tisdale scores 51 points, which is not only the best of his brief collegiate career, but the most points he's ever scored in a game and the most ever for a Sooner.

It was only his fourth game and with a minimum of 100s to go, Tisdale may hit 50 another dozen, even two dozen nights. At OU, he is the Way Man.

And as a consequence of the 6-9 franchise, his Sooner teammates can't help but benefit. Look at Saturday for instance.

The West Texas State Buffaloes probably figured to end up as dried chips, but they were determined the 18-year-old rookie wouldn't make them waste material. The Buffs packed their zone tighter than a pair of designer jeans and dared No. 23 to get the basketball.

But Tisdale's famine meant a feast for others. Five Sooners hit double figures as the Boomers plowed under the Missouri Valley also-rans by 32 points. The 117 total represents Oklahoma's all-time scoring record, and with Tisdale around it may be broken more often than expensive china.

Charles Jones, who plays like he's in the "Big Time" when Tisdale's playing a few feet away, scored 21 and grabbed 12 rebounds.


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