In all, 845 Kansas University men’s basketball games have been played in Allen Fieldhouse since the building’s dedication in 1955.
The best game in 62 seasons just might have been the last game — Monday’s 109-106 three-overtime decision over Oklahoma, which has been compared to other KU classics such as an 87-86 OT win over Missouri in 2012, 150-95 victory over Kentucky in 1989 and 90-86 decision over Kevin Durant and Texas in 2007 as well as more than a few other dandies.
“(It was the) best regular season game I have EVER been part of,” ESPN’s Dick Vitale Tweeted on Tuesday — day after the first three-OT game in Allen history.
“It was the LOUDEST I have ever heard an arena,” the 76-year-old Vitale, who has been broadcasting games for 38 years, added in another Tweet, noting, “I am being flooded with messages and Tweets about that classic.”
KU coach Bill Self was asked to compare KU-OU to KU-Mizzou on Tuesday night on his Hawk Talk radio show.
…“I don’t know which was better,” Self added. “They were both just fabulous basketball games.”
Self said the “best played game” KU has had in his 13 seasons, “without question was Oklahoma State in 2005 (KU’s 81-79 victory in Allen). I don’t know if you remember, but Wayne (Simien, 32 points, 12 rebounds) went nuts. We ended up winning at the buzzer. We shot 66 percent. They shot (58.5 percent). We couldn’t guard each other.
“It was an epic game. John Lucas was 9-for-11 from the field. The last shot he took he missed that would have won the game for them. It was for the Big 12 championship. Although last night’s game happened so early in the conference season, you could make a case it didn’t have as much meaning. You couldn’t make that case with any of the kids who participated in it,” Self added.
The truth is, the Big 12 basketball race does indeed go deeper than Oklahoma-Kansas. The Sooners go to Ames in two weeks. Kansas and Iowa State play each other twice. West Virginia is a load. Baylor always is dangerous. Texas lost center Cameron Ridley but could regroup. The Big 12 champ is not going 17-1 or 18-0.
“All we did was win at home,” said Kansas coach Bill Self. “But if it's going to be like this just to win at home, just think about when we're on the road. I think it was a great way to showcase our league, I don't think it could have been scripted any better.”
The Oklahoman Tramel
Oklahoma’s Buddy Hield was still wringing wet after a three-overtime thriller against Kansas, the longest game ever played in the long, storied history of Allen Fieldhouse, when he flashed a brilliant smile and said, “I can’t wait for the rematch.”
Nor can anybody else.
The first No. 1 versus No. 2 matchup in their league since the Sooners and the Jayhawks met 26 years ago in the Big Eight tournament not only lived up to expectation, it exceeded every one of them.
…“I’d say about the two-minute mark in regulation, I looked down there at the bench, and they’re smiling,” Kansas Coach Bill Self said. “And I said, ‘There’s a bunch of kids playing their tails off, making play after play.’ If we’d have lost the game, I would have walked into the locker room and said, ‘You’ll never forget this one.’ ”
…As soon as the final buzzer sounded, the comparisons to some of the college basketball’s best games began. Self said he thought it trumped the six-overtime game between Syracuse and Connecticut in the 2009 Big East tournament because of the shot-making involved, and he compared it with the Jayhawks’ overtime defeat of Missouri four years ago. The big difference between that game and this one?
“This was a respect game,” Self said. “I think that’s how both teams handled it.”
Still, he said he was always fond of Kansas. And, more specifically, Allen Fieldhouse.
"I just wanted to win here, man," Hield said. "As a kid, I grew up watching this place in the Bahamas. I always said I want to play there, or I want to win there. And I came up short.
"I'll have to go through the rest of my life saying I never won at this place."
BR Jason King
Watching the instant-classic triple-overtime game Monday night between No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Oklahoma brought Maryland coach Mark Turgeon back to his years as a player and graduate assistant in Lawrence, Kan.
Though he was sitting in his Montgomery County home, Turgeon said he felt like he was back at fabled Phog Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence. Funny thing is, as he was talking about it Tuesday before practice, Turgeon reverted in his reference to the Jayhawks.
“I watch those games and I’m like, ‘How in the heck did I ever play in those kind of games,' type thing,” Turgeon said. “What I’ve said about our fans [at Maryland], I’ve been watching it for 40 years and how many games KU’s won that they shouldn’t have won, and last night was another one.
“Oklahoma’s hot, the whistle wasn’t really going great for us, and we were able to pull it off in the end. When you have a passionate fan base like we have [at Kansas, and at Maryland], it helps you win games you’re not supposed to win.”
Asked which was the most memorable game he played in at “The Phog," Turgeon seemed stumped.
“It’s been so long,” he said. “One day, Danny Manning and I combined for 45. I had three.”
The only shame when Monday night's Kansas-Oklahoma game ended was that we didn't see a fourth overtime.
Everything else was perfect.
The setting: Allen Fieldhouse, the holiest of college basketball arenas.
The circumstances: No. 1 Kansas against No. 2 Oklahoma. (Or, if you consider the coaches poll, it was the writers' No. 1, Kansas, versus the coaches' No. 1, Oklahoma.)
The atmosphere: The crowd was still rocking at 11 p.m. Central time as the game spanned into a third overtime. The ESPN broadcast duo of Dick Vitale and Brent Musburger could barely hear one another. ESPN reporter Holly Rowe said Kansas players were straining to hear coach Bill Self in the huddle.
The result: Kansas' 109-106 triple-overtime victory against the formerly undefeated Sooners.
Self and Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger, who have coached 1,668 combined games, struggled to come up with a better game they've witnessed or participated in. Like most sportswriters, I've racked my brain and can't come up with a more electric regular-season game in college basketball.
The games we revere the most weren't played during the regular season. "The Shot" game between Duke and Kentucky happened during the 1992 NCAA tournament. The six-overtime game between Syracuse and Connecticut took place in the 2009 Big East tournament. North Carolina State's 1983 buzzer-beating win against Houston was in the NCAA tournament.
Up until Monday night in Lawrence, Kan., the best regular-season games in history were usually upset victories.
Indiana defeated top-ranked Kentucky 73-72 on a buzzer-beating 3-point heave by Christian Watford at Assembly Hall in 2011. Notre Dame ended No. 1 UCLA's 88-game winning streak on Jan. 19, 1974.
For longevity purposes, Gonzaga's triple-overtime game against Michigan State at the Maui Invitational stood out in November 2005, but many of us have forgotten about that game.
I suspect we'll remember the Kansas-Oklahoma game forever.
The players were gassed at the end but still smiling, and nobody seemed to beam so brightly as Oklahoma star Buddy Hield, despite being on the losing side. He finished with 46 points, having played all but one minute of a 55-minute game.
Hield told reporters afterward that he planned to watch the game immediately to help himself get better.
The rest of us? We were fortunate to have witnessed a game so special even once.
If OU had been able to get Mason out of the game, everything would have changed. Hield was able to score on Mason, but Mason’s dogged defense kept the OU offense from flowing in other areas. The Sooners scored 77 points in regulation and shot 48.5 percent on 3-pointers (16 of 33), but nothing came easy. OU made hard shots. Mason was a big reason why.
Of foul trouble, Mason said “I can't let that be on my mind a lot because once I do that, the tendency is to start giving up easy baskets and that wasn't the time for it.”
But Mason stayed on the court.
“We guarded our a** off against Buddy,” Self said. “I was going to put Devonte' (Graham) on him to start the second half, and then Frank comes to me and says, 'No, let me have him, I will play underneath him,' and Frank guarded the heck out of him and of course he went for 24 (in the second half) but he had 35 minutes to do it. He's great and he's such a class act, there was nothing but respect from both ways.”
Said Mason, “Buddy's a great player. He made contested shots. I think their bigs did a good job and the team did a good job of stealing extra possessions. Once they do that, we all crash for the rebound and they kicked a couple out to him and he made some huge shots.”
You can talk about all of the great individual plays, the good moments and the bad, the questionable calls and the wild finish, but the easiest way to sum all of that up into one simple phrase is to put it like this: Both teams played their asses off. I already thought Buddy Hield was the best player in the country and came away even more in awe of his all-around game. And, in case you didn't pick this up, OU is absolutely, 100 percent a real live national title contender. As for the Jayhawks, they showed something that they've had a hard time delivering these past couple of years from time to time — heart, grit, toughness and an unwavering desire to win at whatever cost. Both teams laid it all on the line and both teams deserve a ton of credit for their effort and the dazzling display of basketball they gave us. But make no mistake about it, keeping that Big 12 title streak alive means the world to the Jayhawks and their pride, passion and team-first mentality delivered a huge victory that could wind up going a long way toward making that happen.
LJW Tait: The Day After
Has KU been that good to win all those conference championships in a row or has the Big 12 been that bad? — Angie and Rick (@TigersNTarheels)
I include this question because I saw where Bill Self said recently that there is not nearly enough national respect given to his string of 11 straight conference championships. I always suspected that Self never read anything I wrote or heard anything I said on television, and now I know it’s true—because I have been launching a personal crusade to draw attention to what I believe is one of the most incredible feats in all of sports. (See that, Bill? I used italics!) In an era of hyperactive roster turnover in college hoops, the fact that Kansas has won all those titles is truly mind-boggling. I was reminded recently that the streak includes not one, not two, but three seasons in which Kansas won the league with a completely new starting lineup.
So don’t give me the argument that this is more of an indictment of the Big 12 than anything else. There are plenty of leagues that are weaker than the Big 12. How come nobody else is winning championships at nearly the same rate? I’ve also heard the argument made by some TV analysts (I won’t name names, but it rhymes with Bug Knottlieb) pooh-poohing the achievement by pointing out that during the first few years of the streak, the Big 12 did not play a true round-robin schedule. Balderdash.
Any way you slice it, any way you dice it, it is hard to win your league even once. For Kansas to do that 11 straight years—and it now has the inside track for a 12th thanks to Monday night’s riveting win over Oklahoma—is simply amazing. Respect, indeed.
SI Seth Davis
After averaging 9.4 minutes in eight November games, Oubre became a bigger contributor in December, playing in 14 games and averaging six more minutes an outing.
And heading into Wednesday night’s home game against Cleveland (7 p.m., CSN), the Wizards’ third game of 2016, he is averaging 23.5 minutes in January outings.
Not bad for a player considered to have limited value this season.
“Even when those thoughts and rumors were going around, that was never on my mind, me not playing,” said Oubre, 20. “My will to win is going to allow me to supersede that and work to be the best and get on the court. No matter what, I’m just going to keep trying to get more minutes and earn the trust of the coaches.”
A smile crept over Clippers guard J.J. Redick's face as he began to file through the catalog of past teammates in his head.
“I’ve had a lot of weird teammates in my career, and some guys just do the most random stuff,” Redick said Tuesday. “Paul Pierce is a random guy. He just randomly, I think, the thought just came into his head one day. We should do the ‘Soul Train’ line. He just started clapping.
“There you have it. That’s why we do the dance.”
Ah, the dancing.
It’s why the Clippers found themselves in a little bit of trouble with the NBA earlier this season. It’s the reason the players have been even more bizarre in postgame interviews. And, it’s why, at least part of the reason, this group is having fun.
The rules are simple: Win a game, then dance.
…But this isn’t a group performance. It’s a solo.
The last player in the locker room after a game is the one who has to dance, with his teammates lining up in two lines. The loser has to work his way through the middle.
No music plays. The players in the lines, led by Pierce, provide the beat: “Clap. Clap-clap-clap. Clap. Heyyyy.”
…Cole Aldrich recently made his dancing debut, to unanimously awful reviews.
“I hope I never have to see that again,” Redick said. “Maybe he should go back to getting (did not play’s). Seriously, I don’t want to see that ever again.”
The popular Adidas Crazylight Boost 2.5 received three new colorways, all “player editions” for Minnesota star Andrew Wiggins. The Marita is dedicated to Wiggins’ mother, Marita Payne-Wiggins, an Olympic medalist for Canada. The silver-to-red gradient upper ties in her silver medals with her country, Canada. The Primeknit threads get accented with silver on the midsole, heel cap, collar and laces. The North Star, in team colors, features a black and blue upper with metallic and silver detailing, a nod to Minnesota. Designed in tribute to Wiggins’ journey from Canada to the NBA, the Home Away From Home has cascading maple leaves from the midsole to a clear outsole with green and blue accents. White and gray Primeknit threads pair with dark blue mesh details and a silver-blue fade heel cap, all in an effort to merge Canada with Minnesota.
“Pay Heed. The game you love began here. Respect those who came before you. Make their legacy your own. Because destiny favors the dedicated. And rings don’t replace work. In this game you don’t get what you want. You get what you earn. We are Kansas. Together we rise. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!”
Big 12/College News
Junior guard Isaiah Taylor led all scorers with 17 points, while senior guard Javan Felix added 14 points to lead Texas past Kansas State inside the Frank Erwin Center on Tuesday night in front of 10,620 fans. With the win, the Longhorns (9-5, 1-1 Big 12) improved to 16-4 all-time in Big 12 Conference home openers.
Taylor's 17 points for the game puts him just nine points shy of the 1,000-point milestone. Senior center Prince Ibeh recorded a season-high seven points in addition to nine rebounds (four offensive) in a career-high 27 minutes, while senior forward Lammert tied his season high with nine rebounds and added eight points.
K-State (10-4, 0-2) was led by freshman Barry Brown with 15 opints, while Justin Edwards added 13 points and 10 rebounds.
In a column prior to West Virginia’s three-game road trip, I commented that we would finally learn just how good this Mountaineer men’s basketball team is this season by the time they returned to Morgantown.
Coming back from journeys to Virginia Tech, Kansas State and TCU 3-0, I think we know this team is NCAA Tournament good, whether head coach Bob Huggins wants to admit it or not.
No, WVU didn’t go out and beat Duke and the Golden State Warriors during their travels. The three teams that the Mountaineers downed have combined for a 28-14 record — not bad, but not what WVU will face down the road in the Big 12, either. But if you think what the Mountaineers accomplished while on the road for a full seven days was easy, you haven’t paid much attention to college basketball.
The American Athletic Conference has suspended Memphis senior forward Shaq Goodwin one game for violating the league's sportsmanship code for apparently tripping an opponent while sitting on the bench during a loss to South Carolina.
Memphis said in a statement that Goodwin will miss Tuesday night's game against Nicholls State. Athletic officials said this resolves the matter.
Video showed Goodwin apparently tripping Sindarius Thornwell while sitting on the Memphis bench when Thornwell fell into the Tigers after trying to block a shot. Goodwin appeared to grab Thornwell's foot when he tried to head back down court during South Carolina's 86-76 win.
San Diego State officials announced Tuesday that the NCAA has informed them it has "concluded its inquiry" into allegations of rules violations by the Aztecs men's basketball program and now considers the matter closed.
In a release, San Diego State said it received notification from the NCAA informing it that "based on the available information, the allegations were not substantiated and it does not appear there is need for further inquiry."
Big 12 Composite Schedule
No. 4: Mitch Lightfoot, Gilbert Christian basketball
He didn’t make All-Arizona, mainly because he missed too much of the early part of the season. But after beating the Arizona Interscholastic Association in court, the 6-foot-9 transfer from Oro Valley Ironwood Ridge was free to play in mid-January and the Knights didn’t lose again after his return. They won their last 15 games with Lightfoot in the lineup and captured the Division II championship with an overtime victory over Phoenix Arcadia. Lightfoot's nasty streak on the boards and on defense gave Gilbert Christian an edge that included a victory over the defending state champion, Phoenix Shadow Mountain, in the state semifinals. Lightfoot, who averaged 17.9 points and 9.7 rebounds, ended up getting bigger colleges offering him. Included was his childhood favorite college, Kansas, where he will be playing next season.
Recruiting Calendar (updated for 2016)
Late Night in the Phog
Bill Self Camp KU Alumni games
60 Years of AFH Celebration
Legends of the Phog game
2011-12 Final Border War
KC Prep Invitational
and more, now on YouTube