ESPNU to carry Mizzou game

Jordan Larimore

TJ Williams is no stranger to playing televised games, but when the University of Missouri comes to Leggett & Platt Athletic Center Oct. 30, the audience will be full of strangers.

ESPN and Missouri Southern announced Wednesday that the One State, One Spirit Classic exhibition basketball game will be carried nationally by ESPNU.

“It’s gonna be exciting,” Williams said. “Like I said, it’s just going to be another game. There’s always cameras, they’re just gonna be on a different TV station.”

The game will benefit tornado relief in Joplin, primarily on the campus, according to Athletics Director Jared Bruggeman.

“The key to this, I think, is to thank ESPN,” he said. “Particularly Jay Bilas, with working on that from the ESPN perspective.

“In addition, Mike Alden from Mizzou, and coach [Frank] Haith from Mizzou were very active in this and obviously coach Haith was here right after the tornado and was very interested in coming down to Southern and helping out with that.

“In addition, there were some staff from Southern that were very active; coach [Robert] Corn was involved in this and Kevin Greim [assistant A.D./external ops] have been really working diligently on having this game be able to be televised nationally.”

With the exception of approximately 60 premium courtside seats, exclusively available through the MU ticket office, the game is sold out. The courtside seats will cost $500 and can be obtained by calling 1-800-CAT-PAWS.

Also available will be “virtual tickets,” essentially making a donation to the cause, with a seat in front of a television.

“The funds coming from this event will help a lot of people,” men’s basketball Head Coach Robert Corn said.

“So we’re very pleased to be a part of the game. We think that it’s going to be a great event.

“And naturally with ESPNU being a part of it, it becomes not just a state event, it becomes a national event.

“And that type of exposure is something that we continue to need in this area because we all know that people have done a tremendous job in clean up and starting to rebuild but we’ve got a long way to go.”

The tipoff  time for the game has not yet been announced, but is expected to center around 5:41 p.m., the time the May 22 tornado struck Joplin.

Following the Mizzou game, the Missouri State University Bears will also come to Joplin for an exhibition benefit game on Nov. 5 at Leggett & Platt.