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 think we actually played better last night than we did against Missouri,” Self said. “We got down 20 and were so tight against Missouri. Even though the end result was great, I think it was more a grind throughout the entire game. I thought last night was a little better played and last night was more a respectful game where the first game (vs. MU) was more a hatred-type game. We (Jayhawks-Tigers) don’t care much for each other.
“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.
KU’s Frank Mason III and Perry Ellis played 53 minutes apiece Monday, while Devonté Graham logged 46 and Wayne Selden Jr., 43 minutes.
“The guy who should be exhausted is Frank,” Self said. “He face-guarded that dude (OU’s Buddy Hield, 46 points) for 35 minutes and in 35 minutes limited him to 11 shots. Unfortunately he made eight of ‘em.
“Frank ... the defense and heart he showed guarding Buddy was remarkable,” Self added. “He suffered at the other end. He went 1-for-11 (shooting, 5-of-20 overall, but 4-of-5 from line) the second half because he didn’t have any legs.
“We gave the guys the day off today. We may practice tomorrow but I guarantee you Perry, Wayne, Devonté and Frank won’t. We may have them shoot a little bit. We’ll give those guys two days and hit it hard Thursday (in preparation for Saturday’s game at Texas Tech),” he added. “We need to get our legs underneath us. If we get too giddy about this, we won’t be emotionally right the next game we play.”
Class act: KU’s fans have been praised for giving Hield a standing ovation after his postgame interview with ESPN.
“What’s so cool is people can’t know this place (Allen) until they experience it,” Self said. “It’s little things like that. They started cheering for the other team’s player after he dropped 46 on us because they appreciate what good ball is. People in the area ... there’s so much history and tradition, it’s so generational. People do enjoy players that play the right way, play hard and compete hard.
“They got a chance to be treated last night. I would think it was one of the most fun games for a Kansas fan. You got to see an unbelievable win and greatness (from Hield) at the same time.”
Strategy: The Jayhawks elected not to foul with a three-point lead and OU holding the ball with 8.6 ticks left in the third OT. It worked out well as OU’s Hield missed a last-second three.
“It was a weird deal because Perry knocked the ball away from (Ryan) Spangler and Frank took a step to go to the ball. The only reason Buddy touched it is it was a loose ball deal,” Self said. “He wouldn’t have touched it if they tried to pass to him.
“I think sometimes you foul if there’s four or five seconds left. If there’s 8.6 left ... if the guys make a mistake and foul with 6.2 before they get in the scoring area, now you have a situation you can lose the game. Make two free throws, they foul immediately, they’ve still got five seconds to get the ball up court. I thought there was a little too much time.”
Also ... “the best teams we’ve had, we’ve always asked them (players), ‘Do you want to foul or guard?’ It’s what I asked ‘em. Of course they said, ‘Coach let’s guard them.’’’
TV ratings: According to ESPN, the KU-OU game had an overnight rating of 1.9, making it the highest-rated Big 12 Big Monday game on record since the network started keeping track in 2002. The J-W’s Matt Tait reported Tuesday that, according to Nielsen, which keeps track of the ratings, there are 123.2 million viewing households in the United States. When it is said the game received an overnight rating of 1.9, that means that 1.9 percent of 123.2 million — or roughly 2.34 million — households watched the game. In all, 16.79 percent of Kansas City area households (923,290) watched, putting that number at a national high of 150,945. Also, 89,000 households in New York City, 74,098 in Dallas and 57,689 in Chicago tuned into the game.
Predictions: Self had a good feel for what might happen on Monday night between KU, ranked No. 1 in the AP poll and Oklahoma, ranked 1 in the coaches poll.
“I told myself before the game if we held them to 75 we’d win,” Self said on Hawk Talk
He was right. The score at the end of regulation was 77-77.