One memory from Purdue’s victory against Kansas in the 1994 NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 stands out above all others for new Missouri basketball coach Cuonzo Martin.
“I remember the dunk Glenn (Robinson) did on (former Jayhawks center Greg) Ostertag,” Martin said. “That was great. Go look that up on YouTube.”
It’s no wonder Martin remembers the play from the Boilermakers’ 83-78 win so vividly.
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He had the assist to Robinson, a lob pass from the right corner to the right block, and had an unimpeded view as “the Big Dog” turned inside, took one dribble into the paint and the stuffed the ball through the rim on Ostertag’s head.
“It was good times against a good team, a tough team,” said Martin, who was a junior forward on the team. “(KU) played hard and it went down the wire. Glenn made plays. Steve Woodberry, who is a friend of mine, played well. … It was a great game. I know Glenn Robinson, who was my roommate, had 31 at the half and 44 at end of the game.”
Martin wasn’t bad himself. He finished with a season-high 29 points, including eight three-pointers, in the victory.
Oddly, the game was played in Knoxville, Tenn., where Martin would later coach from 2011-14 and lead the Volunteers to the Sweet 16 before becoming the coach at California.
Three years later, he left the Golden Bears and signed a seven-year, $21 million contract last Wednesday with the Tigers.
It’s 23 years later, but Kansas and Purdue are set to meet again in the Sweet 16 at around 8:39 p.m. Thursday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.
“Boilermakers, let’s go,” a beaming Martin said Monday after his introductory news conference at Mizzou Arena.
Asked if he’ll be able to attend the game or is too busy with his first week on the job as the Tigers’ replacement for Kim Anderson, Martin asked, “Is it in Kansas City? This is most important, but if I can make it I will certainly try to get by the (team) hotel. … I think it (Thursday’s rematch) will be great.”