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The Day After: Simply put, one of the best games in Allen Fieldhouse history

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Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pumps his fist after coming away with a steal and a foul by the Sooners during the first half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) pumps his fist after coming away with a steal and a foul by the Sooners during the first half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

If you're still buzzing about Monday night's triple-overtime thriller between No. 1 Kansas and No. 2 Oklahoma, you're definitely not alone.

The Internet, literally every nook and cranny of it, is full of people talking about the Jayhawks' 109-106 victory over the Sooners for which both teams deserve a ton of credit.

Typically, this blog is designed to provide a specific and detailed look at the previous game played by the Jayhawks, dissecting the ins and outs of what Kansas did well and did wrong before moving on to the next game.

But last night was so good, so memorable, such a well played basketball game by two incredibly talented teams, that I've decided to give the game its proper respect. After all, it's not every day that you hear the words “best game in the history of Allen Fieldhouse” get tossed around and think that people may be using them in the right context.

It was an unbelievable game, one that those who were there and the millions more who watched on television, won't soon forget. And the best part about it was it wasn't one those “great games” that gets that tag just because it included a great finish or a remarkable comeback. This one was great from start to finish on both sides and, outside of the players who might not have survived it, I'm guessing there are more than a few people out there who wish it was still being played, heading into its 27th overtime.

Quick takeaway

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.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) strips a ball from Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) during the second half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) strips a ball from Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) during the second half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

Three reasons to smile

1 – Because it happened and games like this are so rare that, regardless of who won or lost, you just have to appreciate the opportunity to see such quality basketball in such an incredible environment. One of the most remarkable things to me was that in 55 minutes of hard-nosed basketball that featured all kinds of scrums, just one player fouled out and the teams combined to commit just 30 turnovers. In a game played at this level, with so much on the line, both feats are absolutely incredible.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) defends against a three from Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) in triple overtime, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Devonte' Graham (4) defends against a three from Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) in triple overtime, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

2 – I'll be the first to tip my cap to Buddy Hield for his incredible 46-point effort, which came on 13-of-23 shooting, 8-of-15 from three-point range, but even though the Jayhawks did not have ONE player who got into one of those epic, anything-you-can-do-I-can-do-better wars with the potential national player of the year, they got by because they had THREE guys who did. In his younger days, Wayne Selden would've tried to match Hield shot for shot, big play for big play and possibly hurt his team in the process. On Monday, Selden continued to play his game, attacked when he could and deferred to teammates when it wasn't there. Selden finished with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting. When he couldn't find a shot, Perry Ellis did what senior leading scorers are supposed to do and found a way to score. There were stretches where Ellis, who finished with a team-high 27 points and 13 rebounds (side note: Ellis scored 27 on 28 shots and Hield scored 46 on 23 shots. Incredible.) absolutely took over the game and kept Kansas in it. And then, when neither of those guys could find a way to get something going, ever-improving sophomore Devonte' Graham did. Graham finished with 20 points, 7 rebounds and made 6 of 7 free throws. In short, it took all three Jayhawks to help Kansas survive a magical night from Hield. And all three delivered.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) is fouled by Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) on a three during third overtime, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Wayne Selden Jr. (1) is fouled by Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) on a three during third overtime, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

3 – Both teams shot better than 48 percent from three-point range, with Kansas knocking down 11 of 22 three-point tries (50 percent) and OU making 16 of 33 (48.5 percent). Hield himself made 8 of 15 and the Jayahwks had four players make at least two triples, but the lost hero in this one had to be Oklahoma's Jordan Woodard, who matched Ellis with 27 points and made 6 of 9 from downtown. With so much attention paid to Hield — rightly so — the Jayhawks allowed Woodard to get loose a few too many times and the guard almost made them pay. The deep balls were not the only shots that impressed. Guys finished at the rim, hit mid-range jumpers and little floaters and this was about as well played of an offensive basketball game as I can remember. Guess that's why both teams cracked the 100-point mark.

Three reasons to sigh

1 – Because it's over. If not for deadline and the rules likely fouling everyone out, I would've sat and watched that game for another two hours. Easily. And I don't think I'm alone. Every once in a while you watch those games that you just don't want to end and this was certainly one of them. It's funny because every game ever played in Allen Fieldhouse is guaranteed two 20-minute halves. There've been a handful of overtimes, but, for the most part, the games are 40 minutes. Some nights, when the game's a dud and neither team is playing that well or the opponent is just that overmatched, the clock just crawls by and it seems like we'll never get out of there. And then there are nights like last night, when a game that you wish would last forever just flies by. Think about that: 55 minutes of basketball seemed like it went by in a flash.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31), forward Cheick Diallo (13) and forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) react to an and-one bucket by guard Devonte' Graham (4) to tie the game during the second half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas forward Jamari Traylor (31), forward Cheick Diallo (13) and forward Carlton Bragg Jr. (15) react to an and-one bucket by guard Devonte' Graham (4) to tie the game during the second half, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

2 – I don't do this very often, if at all, but I thought the officiating was pretty awful, both ways in this one. It obviously didn't negatively impact the game and, in spite of the bad calls and look-at-me-moments from the officials, this one still will go down as an all-time classic in a building where that tag doesn't get tossed around every year, but the officials were far too inconsistent for my taste and made and missed bad calls both ways. In a way, I guess that means everything evened out. But I'd give the players and coaches the credit for that and tell the refs, better luck next time.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) hits the second of two free throws with 8.6 seconds remaining in the third overtime, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Frank Mason III (0) hits the second of two free throws with 8.6 seconds remaining in the third overtime, Monday, Jan. 4, 2016 at Allen Fieldhouse. by Nick Krug

3 – For this last reason to sigh (of relief), I'd like to give a special shout out to OU's Khadeem Lattin for missing the front end of a one-and-one at the end of regulation with 2 seconds left that, in all likelihood, would have ended the game. It still would've been a fantastic game. And we'd still be buzzing about it a little bit. But had Lattin made just one of those free throws given to him after Landen Lucas went over his back on a rebound attempt on the other end, there would've been no overtimes. There would've been no 46-point night from Buddy Hield or heroics from Selden, Ellis, Graham or Frank Mason. That was not Lattin's only contribution of the night. The long forward finished with a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds and gave KU problems at the rim. But his biggest contribution was easily that missed free throw that gave us the joy of watching three OTs and one of the best games Allen Fieldhouse has ever seen.

One for the road

KU's epic, three-overtime thriller over No. 2 Oklahoma...

• Made Kansas 13-1 and extended the Jayhawks' win streak to 12 games, the longest since the 2012-13 squad won 18 straight. 


• Bumped KU's winning streak inside Allen Fieldhouse to 32 games, including an 8-0 mark this season. Kansas is 198-9 in The Phog under Bill Self and 736-109 all-time in the venue. 


• Made Kansas 16-9, 6-2 under Bill Self, as the No. 1-ranked team in the Associated Press Poll. 


• Moved Self to 365-79 while at KU and 572-184 all-time.

• 
Improved the Jayhawks to 2,166-832 all-time.

Kansas head coach Bill Self comes in to slap hands and hug Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) following the Jayhawks' 109-106 triple overtime win over the Sooners.

Kansas head coach Bill Self comes in to slap hands and hug Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield (24) following the Jayhawks' 109-106 triple overtime win over the Sooners. by Nick Krug

Next up

The Jayhawks (13-1 overall, 2-0 Big 12) will get a much needed week to recover before hitting the floor again. They'll play Saturday night at 8 p.m. at Texas Tech on ESPNU.


More news and notes from No. 1 Kansas vs. No. 2 Oklahoma




By the Numbers: Kansas 109, Oklahoma 106 (3OT)

By the Numbers: Kansas 109, Oklahoma 106 (3OT)

Comments

John Myers 5 years, 9 months ago

While Lattin was already a poor free throw shooter, I think "The Phog" made sure he missed to make up for the blown call where Mason got hacked across the face before Lucas went over the back. The right call gets made there, Mason shoots FTs to win the game for us instead.

Truly the best game I have ever seen in my 46 yrs on this earth.

Dustin Peterson 5 years, 9 months ago

Yes. Yes, a thousand times yes. I saw that too. I try to refrain from too many incendiary comments anymore, but I do have something unpopular to say. While I appreciate we got to see an amazing basketball game last night, I can't help but wonder if it was scripted that way. If OU had matched our foul count of 12 in the first half, instead of only five, it's a very different ball game that likely ends with KU running away to a 15 point win. Not to be overlooked is we were into the third overtime before KU shot as many free throws as OU shot in the first half. My point being, I guess, is that the officiating was so bad, that the experience of a game as this one turned out to be, for me, was somehow artificially contrived. Manufactured. Designed. I didn't buy it. I'm glad everyone else enjoyed it, but this doesn't compare to the last Missouri game, or the Jacque Vaughn and crew comeback over ucla, or the win over KD's Longhorns.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 9 months ago

That is some crazy sh**. Scripted? Why does something have to be minimized in order for something else to be great?

They were all great games. Pick your favorite - and you will be right.

Dustin Peterson 5 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, scripted is too strong of a word, you're right. How about gently influenced? I'm open to the possibility that I'm completely wrong and we just ended up with 3 guys that couldn't see the bag if they were sacking groceries. Whatever happened, it was absolutely terrible, and it did diminish my game watching experience, unfortunately.

Bryce Landon 5 years, 9 months ago

Better than the 1988 and 2008 NCAA finals?

Kurt Eskilson 5 years, 9 months ago

The discussion is specifically about games played in Allen.

John Myers 5 years, 9 months ago

Was talking about that with some friends. I think, objectively speaking, yes. As a Jayhawk, the end results of the games make the 1988 and 2008 championships rank slightly higher. :)

Pius Waldman 5 years, 9 months ago

Well those slightly older probably remember the 4 overtime game with K-State in their pre-conference tournament at Kansas City.Jayhawks 90 K-State 88. Very similiar as it was closely contested although a number of players fouled out and a football player Jay Roberts tipped in the final shot. Also a 3 overtime game for the Championship at Kansas City won by North Carolina over KU the last game Wilt played at KU.

Robert Brock 5 years, 9 months ago

Wilt played the next season; that's when I started attending games at AFH.

Evelyn J Herron 5 years, 9 months ago

No. The game you are referring to was in 1957, Wilt Chamberlain's sophomore year. He played for KU during his junior year, 1957-58, as well. Then left to join the Harlem Globetrotters for a year. In those days, players could not be recruited by an NBA team until their class graduated. So, nearly all stayed and played for their school until they graduated. Wilt was an early exception.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 9 months ago

Good job Matt. A great thing about this game, as you pointed out, is that there were so many huge moments...Perry's three late, for example...we can all pick our favorite moment/biggest play and we can all be right.

I really like your highlight of Selden's play. I literally said this to our roomful of people at some point in the game: "Wayne can't get caught-up in a match-game with Buddy." And you are absolutely right, he didn't. He played his game. His line is actually very good, and he had a huge impact on the win. No headlines for Wayne except for a great team win.

And...while we are talking about officiating....was it just me or did Frank not get totally hammered on that drive to the basket just prior to Landen's over-the-back call?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 9 months ago

I don't know about anyone else, being an Oklahoma fan, but I believe that there are two #1 teams out there. If this had gone on a bit longer or a bit shorter, OU would have won. The same thing happened in the monumental 1971 Oklahoma-Nebraska (remember them) football game when the winner was the team that was ahead when the clock ran out. That yearly Thanksgiving Day game was wiped out when Nebraska left the conference.

Both showed an incredible display of great basketball from both teams and I do not believe we will see this again anytime soon. We will see you guys again in Norman and maybe the result will be reversed, it was last year.

Brett McCabe 5 years, 9 months ago

The longer the game went, the more it favored us. Woodward was out, Spangler was on his way and we had tons of minutes available from Carlton, Hunter, Cheick, Svi and Brannen. Plus, we had the crowd.

John Myers 5 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. Our depth would have become a much greater advantage if it kept going. Even Hield seemed to be getting tired - some of his later shots seemed short due to exhaustion rather than just being off. And Spangler, less than 100% to begin with, looked really gassed. Add people fouling out and the advantage would be ever moreso.

Joe Ross 5 years, 9 months ago

My three reasons to sigh...

  1. poor perimeter defense with the notable exception of Frank Mason on Hield in the 2nd half
  2. big man guessing game continues on a game to game basis
  3. lack of reliable depth. The Bench scored 22 and all were needed. But the fact that Coach could not get more guys involved to establish a rotation near the end of the game is troubling.
    The Sooners could have worn our guys out and won the game themselves as we self-nullified our bench advantage. Fortunately it didnt go that way. But its going to be a long season and horses get tired if they are ridden hard too often.

Dustin Peterson 5 years, 9 months ago

I see your point on number 3. I think OU could be in far more trouble late in the season because of that. We at least have the possibility of bench guys stepping up. I don't think they have that. Not sure that ISU has that, either.

Brian Skelly 5 years, 9 months ago

It's funny too, because I mention to folks who ask me about this years KU team, and earlier in the year I commented on how 'deep' this team seems (there are probably 3-5 guys who would start on a lot of D-I teams).

However, its obvious Self doesnt trust his depth at all. It's not all unjustified either. It's striking to me that should be one of the strengths of this team though. And apparently for Self, it isnt. Or it isnt yet.

Im with you on the big man rotation as well. My guess is most of the posters are. Is Diallo even on the team anymore?

Brett McCabe 5 years, 9 months ago

I disagree. Self played his bench almost twice as much as Kruger. Cheick, Carlton, Svi and Brannen all contributed. Carlton was inserted late, and then fumbled the ball out-of-bounds.

Overtime minutes, against the top-ranked team in the country is not the ideal spot to trust rookies. These guys will continue to gain minutes as the season progresses. Play this game again in mid-February and I believe that you would see even more of the bench. We could be a match-up nightmare for our opponents by the end of this season.

Beth Ennis 5 years, 9 months ago

Matt, great article! I feel so privileged to be one of the millions that watched the game. Epic is an understatement to me. I'm also glad to see that my husband and I weren't the only ones that thought the refs were awful, but we thought, at least in the first half, that they missed a ton of calls against OU and made up stuff (not all) against KU. I think that in the first half, OU shot 16 free throws to our 8. That sounds pretty lopsided to me, but I don't know what the 2nd half and OT stats on that were. They absolutely missed some calls on KU in the OT (along with some on OU as well) and I guess that made up for all the missed calls earlier in the game. Great game though!

Eliott Reeder 5 years, 9 months ago

They shot 15 FTs to our ONE in the first half. Hield's line is amazing, but Perry should have had ten more FT attempts, like Hield, who got the whistles blown on his behalf all night.

Bill Spencer 5 years, 9 months ago

I cannot remember a more hard fought outstanding collegiate basketball game in all of my 59 years. Both teams left it all on the floor. What a game two talent laden teams that we will see again soon. Dicky V will have to go to his big book of adjectives to describe that one I bet. Big 12 is the toughest conference CONFIRMED by that game and the OU battle with Iowa St. Hold on to your hats it is going to be a great year. Rock Chalk BABY

Dale Sprague 5 years, 9 months ago

A Gladiators' fight to the death in the Colosseum! No lesser descriptor is worthy of the titanic battle won. Kudos to all for leaving it all on the Court of the Phog! RCJH

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