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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT

Notes

March 14, 1998|BILL PLASCHKE

Charlie Spoonhour is certain that his halftime speech had nothing to do with Saint Louis' 51-46 upset of Massachusetts in the South Regional.

This is because the Billiken coach didn't give a halftime speech. In fact, he didn't even see his team at halftime, and nearly missed the start of the second half.

An overzealous usher locked him in the team's locker room after the players had left without hearing him talk.

Spoonhour spent the first part of 20-minute halftime break chasing down a national television reporter for an interview. For a coach from a relatively unknown program such as Saint Louis', such interviews are important.

He then hustled into the locker room's bathroom, splashed water on his face, turned around to talk to his team . . . and it had already gone.

He headed for the locker room door but couldn't get it open.

So he started banging and hollering.

"I was beating on it like Thumper the rabbit, howling like a wolf," he said. "I thought the team had done it as a joke."

He should get stuck more often. The usher let him out in time to watch the Billikens go on an 11-6 run to start the second half, building a game-high seven-point lead.

*

The performance of Saint Louis defensive specialist John Redden, who scored one point with one rebound and one assist in nine minutes, was impressive for one reason:

He does not know most of the team's plays. After being sidelined late in the year because of a broken foot, he was reduced to a spectator.

"So John kind of runs his own stuff," Spoonhour said with a smile. "It's interesting."

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