Sooners return to old field house for exhibition

Sooners return to old field house for exhibition

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) Oklahoma's old McCasland Field House wasn't quite the way Alvan Adams remembered it. Just the chance to see another basketball game played in the gym where he starred was a unique opportunity.

The Sooners beat Central Oklahoma 94-66 on Wednesday night in an exhibition at the gym they called home from 1928 to 1975.

McCasland's close coincided with the end of Adams' superlative career, and he had a career-high 43 points and grabbed 25 rebounds in what had been the final game ever to be played in the building on March 5, 1975. After that, he left early for the NBA draft, where he was selected fourth overall by the Phoenix Suns.

``I was glad they hadn't torn it down, and they were able to use it for this exhibition game,'' said Adams, who was honored at halftime, along with a dozen other Sooners who played during the Field House's final years in the 1970s.

Adams said he visited McCasland a while back and found wrestling mats inside. It remains the home of the Sooners' wrestling and women's volleyball teams, and some gymnastics meets are held inside the red brick building that sits on campus just north of the football stadium.

The Lloyd Noble Center, down the street and south of the main campus, became the basketball program's new home after Adams left in 1975. But the athletic department decided to hold two games - a regular-season contest against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Dec. 31 will be played there - after a new roof, locker rooms, restrooms and other updates were completed this summer.

Naturally, it was a different experience than when Adams played. He said he was trying to think in the first half about how the backboards used to be hung permanently on the wall, instead of the portable stanchions that are used in modern times.

There was no ``Alvan's Army'' cheering section for him in the south stands, the players wore shorts that reached beyond their knees and there was a 3-point line on the court. Even that was different - the basketball lines were temporarily drawn on the volleyball court.

``I loved coming over here to wrestling and gymnastics and going to baseball games and of course, the football. That's one of the reasons I came here,'' said Adams, noting he met quarterback Steve Owens while being recruited.

Second-year Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger visited McCasland twice as an opponent, leading Kansas State to an 80-71 victory in 1972 with 18 points and nine rebounds. He sat out a 1973 game in the Field House because of an injury.

``It is a lot different. Of course, my perspective's a little bit different, too,'' Kruger said. ``At that point, everything looked loud and it was.''

Attendance was 2,880 - few enough to get lost in the Lloyd Noble Center, which holds four times that many but a good-sized crowd for McCasland. And with the seats much closer to the court, it made for a noisy atmosphere.

``It's very packed and everybody's around us and we can hear everything,'' forward Amath M'Baye said. ``It was a lot of fun, and I'm glad the crowd showed up. That's something I'd like to do again.''

Kruger said the Sooners would like to play a couple games a year at McCasland. For Adams, even the opponent proved nostalgic. When he was just starting to play the game in seventh and eighth grade, Adams said he used to watch games at Central State College - which later changed its name to Central Oklahoma.

``To me, that was the big time. We didn't drive down to Norman to games. I watched a few professional playoff games on TV but that was a different world of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell,'' Adams said. ``But going to Central State and seeing Mike Mims play, I'd go: `I'd like to do that someday. Mom, can I come play where you're teaching?'''

The reverse was true for Bronchos coach Terry Evans, a former Sooners guard whose father, Eddie, was among the former Oklahoma players honored at halftime.

``We wanted to play Oklahoma. It didn't matter where we played them,'' Terry Evans said. ``I guess be careful what you ask for sometimes.

``But it was great. It was a great atmosphere. Sometimes a game like this, when you know you're not going to get a gym full, it's good to play it here. It's a great atmosphere. I know it meant a lot to some of the older people that used to watch games here and play.''

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Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

There appears to be at least some chance the Wizards will be without starting small forward Otto Porter when they host the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of their first round playoff series on Friday night in Washington.

Porter, 24, continues to deal with a right lower leg strain. The injury is located on the outside of his calf and will require further testing from the Wizards' medical staff to determine his status.

Head coach Scott Brooks addressed the media on Thursday and did not rule out an MRI.

"We don't know as of yet, but he's banged up. So, hopefully we will find out some good news and see how he feels tomorrow," Brooks said.

Porter first suffered the injury on April 10 against the Celtics in the Wizards' penultimate regular season game. He missed the regular season finale, but has appeared in all five games of the Wizards-Raptors series.

Brooks did not make it seem likely that Porter will miss Game 6, but expressed uncertainty.

"Anything is possible," he said. "We hope for the best."

Porter appeared hobbled in Game 5 and has at other times this series as well. After the first two games of the series, Brooks was asked about Porter's health and said that he was "100 percent." It's unclear if Porter suffered a setback in the time between, but clearly that isn't the case anymore.

Porter is averaging just 10.0 points in this series, down from his 14.7 per game season average. Ideally, the Wizards would be getting more than that from their third scoring option.

"We need Otto," Brooks said. "We need Otto to be more of a nine or 10-point scorer for us to win this series."

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If this year is going to be different, the Caps cannot go down 0-2 in the series again

If this year is going to be different, the Caps cannot go down 0-2 in the series again

In last year’s playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals won two out of the last three games and three out of the last five…and still lost the series. That’s because they lost both Game 1 and Game 2 to fall into a 0-2 hole, much like they did against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round this season.

The Caps know if this year is going to be different, they cannot afford to fall into a similar hole again.

“It's always harder to dig yourself out of a hole,” head coach Barry Trotz said after Thursday’s morning skate. “You're room for error is a lot less and it wears on you.”

“If we've learned anything from last year, you lose two it's tough to climb out of that,” Jay Beagle said. “Then this year first round, lose two, it's tough to climb out. It makes the series really hard. You always feel like you're chasing and no room for error.”

It did not cost them against Columbus as Washington was able to rattle off four straight wins to advance to the second round. Overcoming a two-game hole against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, however, is a taller task.

For only the second time in franchise history, the Capitals were able to overcome a 0-2 series deficit when they did it against the Blue Jackets. That means it doesn’t happen very often.

Chances are you won’t be able to overcome a deficit like that against Sidney Crosby and Co.

And that’s what makes Game 1 so important.

Washington is at home, opening a series against their arch rival, the Penguins will be without both Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin and the game will be played with the memory of how a 0-2 hole cost the Caps the series last year.

To call it a must-win would perhaps be an overstatement. It is a best of seven after all. But it’s still not that far off.

“We've got to just make sure we're looking at game one, we're not looking ahead,” Beagle said. “We've got to go after them in this first game and really try and take it to them in our rink.”