Having to endure Brent Musburger and Dick Vitale first thing in the morning, before the sun has risen, is not the optimal way to commence a serene day.
Then again, falling asleep during the first half of a highly anticipated #1 (AP) Kansas vs. #1 (Coaches) Oklahoma Big Monday matchup is not a hoopaholic’s wont.
Upon waking and having read that the tilt went 3 OTs, there was but one choice. Grab breakfast and a cup of morning java, and head to the computer, turn the volume down, and pull up the replay.
Thank you, Watch ESPN.
What unfolded before my bleary eyes was, this is not hyperbole but the truth, the best basketball game I’ve ever seen.
Was it the best college hoops game ever? More than Duke over UK in the East Regional Final? Carolina over Wilt and Kansas in 3 overtimes for the NCAA crown? N.C. State over UCLA in 3 OTs in the ’74 national semis?
I dunno, that’s a subjective assessment.
Was it important?
Not in the grand scheme of things. It’s still early January, and it sure wasn’t Texas Western over Kentucky, which I attended.
But, of course, it matters if, like me, you’re a hoopaholic, and your very well being depends on infusions of such beauteous basketball.
When Vitale hyperventilated, “This is Ali/ Frazier,” when he shouted, “Let’s have overtime, let’s stay here all night,” I simply had to smile and agree.1
* * * * *
Thirteen ties. Thirteen lead changes.
Steals. Blocks. Technicals. Haymakers landed. Counter punches.
The Sooners were 16/33 (49%) from beyond the arc.
The Jayhawks drained 11/22 (50%) treys.
At the end of regulation, Oklahoma had a chance to win it at the line with :02.1 on the clock. But Khadeem Lattin (10 points, 14 rebounds), grandson of Big Daddy D Lattin, center for that Texas Western champ, missed the front end of a 1+1.
At the end of the OT#1, Kansas had a chance to win. But Perry Ellis (27 points, 13 rebounds) missed a five foot jumper.
Back and forth. Then again. And again. And again.
* * * * *
Such was the intensity, the teams were exhausted at the end of regulation. And still went three extra periods.
How tired must they have been?
There were 275 player minutes per side. (5 players X 55 minutes each.)
Sooner starters played 240 of the 275. Jayhawk starters got a little more relief from the bench, playing but 204 of the 275.
Yet . . . yet . . . yet . . . the second OT started like this: Buddy Hield (O) trey. Devonté Graham (K) trey. Okie answer: Jordan Woodard (27 points, 7 assists) from beyond the arc. Landon Lucas (K) FT and second chance tipin. Two more Lucas FTs. Answered with two Woodard FTs.
After which stunning back and forth, the teams, in need of an infusion of Gatorade spiked with crystal meth, could hardly walk, let alone ball. That OT ended with six straight empty possessions, three by each team.
* * * * *
In OT#3, Kansas slipped out to a four point advantage, after several you take this no you take that possessions.
Then Hield (46 points, 8 rebounds, 7assists, 54 of 55 possible minutes on the court) canned a three, with an assist from Lattin. Followed by a Lattin deuce, assist from Hield.
A Wayne Selden Jr. (21 points) score put Kansas back on top. Oklahoma regained the lead with a Woodard trey.
Etc, etc, etc.
On and on and on. Until Kansas finally prevailed.
Even Vitale was stunned to silence, “There’s not much more you can say.”
* * * * *
The evening ended with players and coaches from both sides hugging each other and giving props. The Kansas fans gave Buddy Hield a standing O.
* * * * *
It was a huge Big Monday, the first of the year, a night when Carolina’s Brice Johnson went for 39 points and 23 rebounds in Tallahassee against Florida State, and Virginia Tech upset UVa in Blacksburg.
And #1 Kansas and #1 Oklahoma played a game for the ages, the best this hoopaholic has ever seen.
It was a tilt so grand, even Vitale and Musburger were palatable with breakfast.
— Seedy K
5 thoughts on “Hoopaholics Gazette: Jayhawks Survive Sooners in Classic of Classics”
Not to mention a grand total of one player fouled out. The game was what number one versus number two is supposed to be. One of the best games I’ve ever witnessed, too.
OK…”pretty good game”…LOL!
… but I can think of at least 3 recent games off the top of my head that were as good, or better (and the first game last night (NC/FLA.ST), though clearly not as well played, was certainly a great warm up…
Most recently, last years elite 8 game ND vs.your Cayuts was a classic. Considering the stakes involved, an extremely well played game with one clutch play after another leading to a win by the bad guys since the Irish had no way to stop KAT and ND’s shooting guard (see below) missed the game winner in the last second…but maybe this game had an unfair advantage in that it was an NCAA elite 8 game…
Another regular season game in the not too distant past that was better, IMHO, also involved ND vs. my Cards in the 2013 championship year. This was a game, if you recall, that went to what? 5 OT’s? before the Louisville Smith’s went down for the last time all year. One compelling feature of that thriller was the incredible play by ND guard Jerian Grant (see above) at the end of regulation when he made 3 incredible 3-pointers in the last minute to tie the game after being 8 points down. Each of the 5 OT’s were fraught with excitement, last second blocked shots and great plays made by bench players that had the game tipping in favor of one side to the other throughout….(27 lead changes!?!)
..but the best game? Prolly the Big East tournament quarter final game between the Cuse and UConn in 2009. 6 OT’s…127-117 Orange.
I went back to look it up, the memory being fragile as it is. The game took 3:46 minutes to play. It started on Thursday evening and ended Friday morning at 1:22 a.m.. I do remember staying up glued to my couch–sleep was no option. 102 of the 244 points came after regulation. 8 players fouled out; 6 had double doubles. Jonny Flynn played 67 minutes and had 34 points & 7 assists. Syracuse NEVER lead in OT until the 6th overtime.
Funny, but the most iconic memory of the game that I have is of the devilish Eric Devendorf making a shot at the buzzer and jumping on top of the scorers table to celebrate the win. BUt…the shot was waived off as being too late, leading to the historic ot’s….
Seedy, believe it or not, I am not trying to be contrary—though you might well suspect that to be my nature. I also enjoyed last night’s well played double-header which made me remember the days when college basketball was more than just the NCAA tournament. I miss those days and wish the Cards could go back to playing more “big” games during the regular season. But economic realities, bond ratings and mortgage payments leave little opportunity for a return to the good old days.
I am sure your legion of readers can think of many other “great” games that will bring back fond memories of days gone by. These 3 just came quickly to my mind when I read your article. Keep up the good work and spread the faith…
Great post, good choices, all, JGJ. Of course, we remember the one that just happened. To jog my memory, I just watched the Laettner game in its entirety. The game of yours I would disagree with is the U of L/ ND. 5 OTs. Exciting. But not very well played. The others are legit. What struck me about last night’s game was the quality of play, the intensity and back and forth for the whole game, the 2d OT when the players were exhausted, the 3 point shooting. Thanks to youtube, I’ll probably go back tomorrow and watch those others you mentioned.
Fantastic game and Superman performance by Hield. Did anyone notice that the defender was 2 inches from Hield when he made the critical turnover on the sideline throw in? He could not backup because the scorers or media table was right behind him. OU got screwed on that one as the official should have moved the defender back. Unfortunatly, that turnover won the game for KU
Actually, Birdie King, I think Mason III might have stepped out of bounds and touched the ball out of bounds, both causes for a T. In the ref’s defense, those guys had to be as exhausted, perhaps more so, than the players.
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