Friday, November 19, 2010

Protect this Allen Fieldhouse: Former Jayhawks want KU basketball home win record broken

The Jayhawks come together during a timeout from action against Valparaiso in the second half, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.

The Jayhawks come together during a timeout from action against Valparaiso in the second half, Monday, Nov. 15, 2010 at Allen Fieldhouse.



Kansas fans in the northern student section sing the Alma Mater before tipoff against Alcorn State during the first half, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2009 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Billy Thomas never experienced the agony of defeat in Allen Fieldhouse in his four-year Kansas University basketball career.

“Fifty-eight and 0: Raef and I and C.B.,” former KU shooting guard Thomas said proudly, referring to the undefeated trio of Thomas, Raef LaFrentz and C.B. McGrath.

“It’s something I’m proud of to this day,” added Thomas, first-year boys basketball coach at The Barstow School in Kansas City, Mo.

He’s also mighty proud of the 62-game homecourt win streak he was part of. It’s a school-record (1994-98) streak that can be tied by the 2010-11 Jayhawks tonight.

KU puts its 61-game Allen Fieldhouse win streak on the line against North Texas. Tipoff is 7 p.m. with a live telecast on channels 3 and 203.

“Records are made to be broken,” said Thomas, who plans on sitting in the stands rooting for the Jayhawks to tie the all-time home win mark tonight. “As a fellow Jayhawk, I always want to see the Jayhawks succeed. There’s not one Jayhawk out there who doesn’t want to see this accomplished,” Thomas added.

The Jayhawks’ current 61-game homecourt win streak opened with a 97-70 victory over Kansas State on Feb. 7, 2007 — a rout contested just four days after a 69-66 heartbreaking loss to Billy Gillispie’s Texas A&M; Aggies. The Jayhawks won four straight to complete the ’06-07 season, then rattled off home marks of 19-0, 18-0 and 18-0 to go with this year’s 2-0 beginning.

The school-record streak of 62 games opened with an 106-62 victory over Colorado on Feb. 26, 1994, and ended with an 85-81 defeat to Iowa on Dec. 8, 1998.

“I’d love to see the guys break it,” said former KU guard Ryan Robertson, regional sales director for Goldman Sachs in St. Louis.

Playing at KU from 1995 to 99, he owns a piece of the record with the likes of LaFrentz, McGrath, Paul Pierce, Jacque Vaughn, Scot Pollard, Jerod Haase, Sean Pearson, Eric Chenowith and T.J. Pugh to name just a few.

“When you are 10 years removed, there’s still a little bit of competitiveness with the classes before you and after you,” Robertson noted. “But as cheesy as this sounds, you root for your basketball family to do well and have success. Something like this makes you very proud as an alumni.”

“God bless ’em. Let’s keep it going,” exclaimed former KU center Eric Chenowith, an assistant coach at Villa Park High School in California, who played at KU from 1997 to 2001.

“This is one of those things where if you love your school and your program, you want the team to be successful. I hope they double it, triple it,” Chenowith added.

The record-setting 62-game streak included some close calls.

“The UCLA game will always stand out in my mind for obvious reasons,” Robertson said of an 85-70 victory over the Bruins on Dec. 1, 1995. It’s a game in which KU trailed by 15 points and won by 15.

“The other one was Senior Night against Oklahoma, when Paul had such a great performance,” Robertson added of Paul Pierce. The Boston Celtics standout exploded for 31 points off 14-of-17 shooting in an 83-70 victory over the Sooners on Feb. 23, 1998.

The closest call in the streak was an 82-77 overtime victory over Nebraska on Feb. 1, 1997.

“Raef was great in overtime. He demanded the ball,” Robertson said of former NBA power forward LaFrentz, who scored 11 of his 20 points in OT.

“We were challenged from time to time. UMass was a close game too,” Robertson added of a 73-71 victory over the Minutemen on Dec. 10, 1997. “I remember Billy (Thomas) and how well he played that game,” Robertson added of the Shreveport, La., three-point bomber, who had 21 points.

The streak — engineered by coach Roy Williams — ended in shocking fashion.

Iowa of the Big Ten Conference erased an 18-point deficit in the final 12:50 to stun KU amid a barrage of three-point baskets. The Hawkeyes were the first team to beat KU at home since Missouri, which won, 81-74, on Feb. 20, 1994.

“We played great 32 minutes and poorly eight minutes,” Robertson said. “It was mostly our fault, but give them credit. Iowa had a great performance.”

Chenowith says he’s haunted by that game.

“It hurt a lot when we lost. It still hurts to this day,” Chenowith said. “I saw (Iowa’s) Jacob Jaacks this summer. It was hard to warm up to him, to be honest. He said, ‘I know how much that game meant to you guys.’ I tried to beat him at pool, shuffleboard, to get even,” Chenowith added with a laugh.

Yes, there was some pressure to continue the win streak.

“I remember it was a big deal to keep it going, to defend the home court,” Robertson said. “The great support we got from the fans ... we wanted to live up to expectations. I’m sure it’s a little bit of what UConn is going through,” he added of the UConn women’s team, which has won 80 consecutive games overall.

“A streak like this ... you go into each game saying you know it’s going to end at some point, but let’s not let it end tonight. We moved on. We won some games after that.”

Robertson has been awed by his alma mater’s sustained run of success.

“My fear is we take coach Self for granted,” he said of Bill Self, whose Jayhawks are 115-6 at home the past seven-plus seasons and have won six straight league titles as well as a national title.

“Six conference titles in a row ... people don’t realize how impressive that is. We’ve gone through one of the most incredible stretches in school history. I hope people enjoy the ride,” Robertson added.

Noted Chenowith: “I’m so proud of what coach Self and the players are doing. The success coach Self has had is amazing. The way he’s done it ... he’s lived by the traditions and reached out to the former players. When he first got to KU, he sent out a letter to the (former) players and said we’re part of the community. He told us to come back whenever we can. I know as a former player I appreciate that. It meant so much to me when we won it all (in 2008). I know it meant a lot to all the former players.”

Just as the continuation of this streak means a lot to ’em, too.


Ben Kliewer 11 years ago

You do realize how misleading the title to this article is, right? I believe you meant to say that the former Jayhawks want the win streak "record" broken, not the win streak broken. Unless they are jerks.

Rock_Chalk_NYC 11 years ago

Totally agree... I read the title of this article 3 times and knew it was wrong...

That said, great article though! Rock Chalk!

Ben Kliewer 11 years ago

Scuse me, I worded my initial statement incorrectly...I mean, they wanted the win "streak" record broken, not the win record broken...whatever, it's late.

bbeckum 11 years ago

Kleave, Dude, you give them crap for stating something incorrectly (in your view), while stating your point incorrectly? Really? Is this what these forums are about?

Ben Kliewer 11 years ago

Well well you can see below, it appears numbers are on my side bbeckum. Here's what happened... I live on the west coast...I was reading this article at 11:30pm, my time. So it was 1:30am in KS when the article was posted. The article popped up with a heading to the tune of "Former Jayhawks want Home Win Record Broken." Or something of the like. Now, in the English Language, being the convoluted bastard child that it is, this statement, in all technicality is correct. However, it could also be understood, correctly, as the former players wanting the win streak broken, not, as it were, the existing home win record exceeded... Being the smarmy commenter that I am, I decided to jump on it with a snarky sarcastic comment. So I quickly typed out my thoughts before the article headline changed, which it did momentarily after posting the comment, hence my "there you go." Then, I realized, in my haste, I mistyped my point, putting me in the same boat as the article headline writer. However, the difference is, I don't get paid to post comments... I wish I did though...Hey LJW, do you guys have a position open for a snarky article commentator in L.A.?

Ben Kliewer 11 years ago

Wow, now I've done it again! I posted the current headline. The original headline was something much more confusing. Regarding them wanting the record, it actually is late. 2am on the West Coast... Anyway, hawks looked good tonight...

kureader 11 years ago

I was confused by the heading too at first.

Benjamin Piehler 11 years ago

<------ also had to read the headline several times

ParisHawk 11 years ago

Totally unrelated, but Luke Winn of SI just published a statistical analysis of the impact of freshmen. The stats indicate that the very top recruits have by far the greatest impact, and more so at the point than at the other positions. I conclude that it's "realistic" to hope for a lot from Selby, once he's cleared.

kufan80 11 years ago

Kentucky at 129 straight home wins from 1943-1945.

kufan80 11 years ago

Kentucky at 129 straight home wins from 1943-1945.

It's one more record we are on track to take from them.

Brianna Zaleski 11 years ago

WHAT!?! Is this a typo? 129 straight home wins from 1943-1945. That's an avg of 43 HOME wins / year. That can't be right

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

And Kentucky was cheating in about half those seasons!!!

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

Also, I agree...maybe the worst constructed headline ever!!! I was livid as to why any Jayhawk would want the win streak broken!!

Then I realized...oh yeah, this is the LJW.

KU_FanSince75 11 years ago

It's always good to hear from former Jayhawks, especially, Ryan Robertson---he is one of my favorite Jayhawks!

REHawk 11 years ago

Bill Self is a standup guy. He became a blueblood Jayhawk from the minute he set foot in the office which Roy deserted. A fine thing, reaching out immediately to former players.

TenaciousD 11 years ago

No doubt. I remember where I was when I saw the ESPN ticker scroll that Coach Self had accepted the job. I got goose bumps and knew we were in good hands. The Jayhawk community of past players has never been so tight. It's awesome to see and I appreciate this run (with Coach Self, not the streak) as Ryan suggests. It won't last forever. Thanks Coach!

FSUJHAWK 11 years ago

Nice article. I was at a few of the games mentioned in this article. Amway Arena sucks. Allen Fieldhouse rocks!


Michael Bratisax 11 years ago

We are only two games into the season but I've noticed that this Kansas team has not played down to the competition which was a constant problem with last year's team. Hopefully that will continue.

Fruity22 11 years ago

I was a youngster when I attended the UCLA game back in 95 so perhaps my math skills hadn't reached thier full potential but I recall UCLA's largest lead being more like 20-25 points as opposed to the 15 reported here.

Marcia Parsons 11 years ago

That's funny, because I remember it being 16. We were down at the half by the same total we won at the end. But I'm guessing Ryan is probably right since he was there.

milehighhawk 11 years ago

Cool article - always fun hearing about what former Hawks are up to.

baby_jay 11 years ago

Bon Jovi has a new song called "This is our house" -- they should definitely play it-- perfect hype up song!

gthejayhawk 11 years ago

Fruitty, I was at that game as well. The loudest crowd in Fieldhouse history!!! You are correct, we were down by 15 at half and UCLA stretched the lead to 19 early in the second half. I will NEVER forget the three pointer Thomas hit in the corner to tie the game. I was sitting in that corner at the very top with my youngest brother as we yelled and cheered, I specifically remember it was SO loud, I couldn't hear myself yell!!!

Brak 11 years ago

You all can thank me for the winning streak, the last KU game I went to was their last lost in AFH against Oral Roberts. After that day I vowed never to go to another home game until they lost again.

On a side note I'm glad I am not the only one who read the headline that way, I was like WTF why do they want them to lose, this isn't the '72 Dolphins.

Fruity22 11 years ago

You could have been going to games the last couple of years considering their last loss was actually to A&M later that same year. Thanks anyway I guess.

tauck 11 years ago

can anyone tell me what our consecutive home game record would have been with out the loss if we would have kept it alive

Fruity22 11 years ago

Tack on about 15 games since we lost earlier that year to Oral Bobs as Brak mentioned.

FreddyinLA 11 years ago

Hay RR, it’s not cheesy to root for the school you attended. I do it all the time.

Love the quote from his CEO at golden sacks Lloyd Blankfein who say he is doing God’s work.

not_important 11 years ago

As far as that UCLA game in '95, I believe we actually trailed by 19 late in the 1st half and we cut it to 15 at the half. Then we came out and caught them so fast out of the gate in the second half it was incredible. Jacque's spinning layup is a highlight for the ages. Great memories.

hailtoku 11 years ago

Does anyone have a link for the game tonight?

North Texas scares me. They just beat Texas Tech and made it to the second round last year playing KState tough.

Fruity22 11 years ago

K-state beat them by 20 in the first round.

hawksince51 11 years ago

The Mean Green are a decent team. Their win over TT was at home in OT. Their hot shooting guard, Josh White, light it up. I expect Brady will come off the bench if he starts doing that to us at AFH. It would be good for us to be challenged before we start playing in the Pac 10/12. rock chalk

JayhawkBigXII 11 years ago

ESPN3 is broadcasting the game (was ESPN360 last year).... if your internet provider carries it. Windstream up here in Nebraska does. Just sign up, it's free.

Brian Stoops 11 years ago

I have a bad feeling about our team this year. I'm not confident about Little and Releford's effectiveness against good competition. I'm also concerned about how effective Mc Morris will be when he is the target of other teams defense. Mk Morris seems to get over emotional at times, so I wonder how he will step up when his brother gets the double team. I have yet to be impressed with anything that EJ does on the court, I know everyone talks about how athletic he is and how he was a top 30 recruit - however, I see nothing positive from him (thus far) on the court.

I'm excited to see how T Robinson will play against better teams, and I think that R Wooldrige is going to be special.

I love Kansas basketball more than anything - the last thing I am trying to do is bash the team - I'm just worried.

I'm hopeful that you guys will respond to this post and point out how wrong I am!!!

hawksince51 11 years ago

I'm not worried about the Twins stepping up--they are in the best condition of their lives and have 2 solid years of experience. Mk will face taller men at the post but not many stronger or quicker. Mc will get doubled but he is a good passer. I agree there are questions about Withey and T-Rob off the bench. Both have had limited playing time; Withey is injury prone; T-Rob was a very "raw" talent last year. We will need them to develop and contribute because Mk will have foul problems and Mc will need breaks. I feel Little will be fine especially at the 3. He has lots of experience and is a proven scorer. He should have no problems guarding at the 3. He is undersized at the 4 so I hope we do not have to use him much there. Hard for me to say about Releford but he is very athletic and the redshirt year should have been very good for him. Also agree that EJ is somewhat of an unknown but I have always felt he will develop nicely. We have lots of guard experience though with Reed, Taylor and Brady and eventually we will have Selby. I expect we will struggle against some of the stronger teams on our pre-conference schedule. But, if most of the pieces fall into place we should again win the Big 12 and this could very well be a final 4 team.

KUbsee69 11 years ago

OK ... you're wrong. (Just ask and ye shall receive)

Ron Franklin 11 years ago

what are you worried about?

that they might lose 5 games this season? that they might not win the NC?

if those are your concerns, then you probably should be worried.

but, if you just want to enjoy watching a good team develop into possibly a really special bunch, then you have nothing to worry about.

Fruity22 11 years ago

Here is some positives I see that might make you feel better.
1. A whole lot of experience. How many players on this team are between 22 and 24 years old? Heck Brady is almost 30. 2. Bill Self, enough said 3. Two potential top 10 picks once Selby gets on the floor.

Ben Simonett 11 years ago

marcus morris is not a potential top 10 pick.

mid to late first round? yes

lottery? no

can you honestly say you can't name 10 people with better pro potential right now than marcus?

selby, knight, henson, sullinger, barnes, hamilton, kanter, irving, jones...... off the top of my head there's 9 right there.

Fruity22 11 years ago

I won't argue too much if somebody is a potential top 10 pick since the word potential is used it seems pretty stupid. But you seem to have a lot of faith in this year's freshman class you might be right. A lot of things come with the word potential like will all these folks you just mentioned declare for the draft.

Adam Bengtson 11 years ago

Any rumors about Selby? Give me something to go on......

FarSideHawk 11 years ago

@Fruity22 and Oldalum: In regards to the UCLA game

I was a sophomore at KU then and was at that game (my first game in Allen Fieldhouse). I remember the game vividly. We were down at the half 45-30 and then won the game 85-70. I still remember Jacque Vaughn's awesome 360 move layup during the comeback run in the second half.

Fruity22 11 years ago

Well through some research and a few others here have backed it up the largest lead was 19. The halftime deficit was 15 as you pointed out. I would have bet a few dollars earlier this morning that the deficit at halftime was 25 as opposed to 15 guess that shows how the legend grows in your own mind sometimes. That would have been a 40 point turnaround in one half that is slightly more ridiculous than a 30 point turn around. None the less it was an awesome game.

pdt2139 11 years ago

The UCLA game was the third best KU I have gone to. The second best was whipping on UNC in semi’s. The best game I have ever been to, that includes all sport armature and professional, is the 2008 championship game.

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

HEY EVERONE...with all that's been going on, not one post about Ben McLemore and "The Decision" tomorrow!!??

Does anybody know when or where or how?

This kid is the real deal and would really go a long way to cure our current, somewhat anemic 2011 recruiting class. Add Angelo Chol with Ben and Naadir and we're in good shape!!

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

Oh, by the way, I checked out some other blogs and there is an overwhelming sentiment that Calipari and Self are the NCAA's favorite sons and get away with murder!!

I was stunned by anyone putting our coach down to the level of Calimari. If Bill was a favorite son, Josh would be getting ready to start his fourth game and not be on the bench in street clothes.

What a bunch of haters!!!!

Tony Bandle 11 years ago

OOOPS...third game..but you get the idea!!

gratefultyler 11 years ago

UCLA game was great. I was there. But hands down the loudest game at Allen was out beatdown of Kentucky.156 - 129? Or am i over overinflating that score as "legends grow with time".

kukid75 11 years ago

It's always embarrassing when a graduate of the University of Kansas (this time it was Robertson) knows no better than to refer to himself as "an alumni." Maybe if he graduated more than once it would be true. Otherwise, he should be content to be a proud "alumnus" of KU.

Cindy Heidorn 11 years ago

Selby released to play 12/18 -- why are the boards not lit up with this news??

brooksmd 11 years ago

Yeah, just got a text msg from LWJ. Great news. This is icing on the cake.

Jared Grillot 11 years ago

The UCLA game was by far the best game I ever attended, and DEFINITELY the loudest I ever went to. My folks called me shortly after that one was over to tell me they couldn't hear the announcers on TV or the radio over the noise we all made in AFH that day.

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