Memorable Mabee Center moments
BY BILL HAISTEN World Sports Writer
Friday, December 21, 2012
12/21/12 at 6:09 AM
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A few weeks before the Oral Roberts University basketball team played for the first time at the Mabee Center, these words were spoken from the arena's stage: "Hello. I'm Johnny Cash."
On Oct. 27, 1972, a Johnny Cash performance was the first big-ticket event to occur in the then-brand-new Mabee Center. The arena became a staple on the tour schedules of many of the major artists of the '70s. Among the Mabee Center's A-list bookings were Johnny Mathis (1973), Sonny and Cher (1973), Anne Murray (1974), John Denver (1974), Olivia Newton-John (1976), Barry Manilow (1977), the Bee Gees (1978) and Kenny Rogers (1979).
Before his death in 1977, Elvis Presley performed in Tulsa four times within a span of five years. In 1972, he played the downtown Convention Center. At the Mabee Center in 1974, Presley had an 8:30 p.m., sold-out show on March 1 and a 1:30 p.m., sold-out show on March 2.
And during the afternoon of July 4, 1976 - as the United States celebrated its bicentennial - Presley wore a blue suit while performing before a Mabee Center standing-room-only crowd of 11,974.
Five to remember
A review of five of the more significant college basketball games ever played in the 40-year-old Mabee Center:
Kansas conquers ORU: In March 1974, ORU was matched with Kansas in the NCAA Midwest Regional final. The winner would advance to the Final Four. ORU had a nine-point lead with four minutes remaining, but the Jayhawks rallied for a 93-90 victory in overtime.
Roberts scores 65: On March 9, 1977, ORU All-American Anthony Roberts scored an NIT-record total of 65 points as the Titans were defeated 90-89 by Oregon in a first-round game. Roberts finished the season with a 34-point scoring average.
Tisdale dominates: In March 1985, during an NCAA Tournament second-round contest, Oklahoma defeated Illinois State 75-69. Sooner forward Wayman Tisdale - in the final game in which he would ever play in his hometown - scored 29 points.
TU launches NIT run: At the end of the 1980-81 season - Nolan Richardson's first as the head coach - the University of Tulsa was in the 32-team NIT. Playing in rival ORU's Mabee Center, the Golden Hurricane opened with an 81-71 triumph over Pan American. TU would win twice more in the Mabee Center before advancing to New York for a pair of two-point victories - over West Virginia in the semifinals and over Syracuse for the championship.
Self makes a statement: In 1993, coach Bill Self was hired to rebuild the ORU program. On Dec. 21, 1995, ORU lost to Oklahoma by 34 points on the Mabee Center floor. Nine days later, a Mabee Center sellout crowd of 10,575 saw Tim Gill score 21 points as the Golden Eagles stunned 25th-ranked TU 90-78.
Original Print Headline: Memorable Mabee moments
Bill Haisten 918-581-8397
Elvis Presley performed at the Mabee Center three times before his death in 1977. Courtesy