Kansas: 76, Texas: 67
Everyone in Lawrence, from the men on the team, to the fans in the stands, to Coach Self, was ready for a win in Allen Fieldhouse this afternoon. After two consecutive road losses, the Jayhawks needed their legendary home-court advantage to be victorious over the Longhorns. KU students in attendance were bubbling over with excitement at being back in Lawrence and back in Allen Fieldhouse to cheer on their favorite team.
The Jayhawks knew they needed to clinch this win for their loyal fans, of course, but also for their coach. This win was Coach Bill Self’s 200th in Allen Fieldhouse, an incredible feat especially compared to his mere nine losses at home.
Coming into this game with no momentum, Kansas struggled in the first half, seeming uncoordinated and lacking teamwork and communication. So Texas dominated for the first several minutes of the game, leading Kansas by 12 at most. About seven minutes in, the Jayhawks seemed to start waking up and finally hearing the roar of 16,000 adoring fans. Mason and Selden hit two quick threes to tie the game 23-23, and then Graham, Selden, and Bragg all contributed points to bring them within five points at the half (35-30).
Seven minutes in to the second half, the Jayhawks tied it up again at 42-42 with yet another Selden three. Then, the star of the show, Perry Ellis took the ball into the paint with a spin move to put Kansas in its first lead of the game 44-42. From that point on, the deafening roar of Allen Fieldhouse never let up, and neither did the Jayhawks. They lead the Longhorns for another 12 minutes, pulling away with a 25 point swing, and ultimately coming out on top with a nine point win.
What was the X-factor in this game?
Perry Ellis was most definitely the X-Factor of this game. Ellis had Kansas’s first seven points on the board, and he ended the game with a team high 26 points. He was a massive presence in the paint today, while also converting twice from beyond the arc as well as shooting 100% at the free throw line. The fifth year senior has truly stepped into a position of leadership on this team, and without his efforts in his 35 minutes on the court this afternoon, Kansas would not have come out on top.
Why Kansas Won this Game?
Need I say it again? The home-court advantage the Jayhawks have seems almost unfair to the rest of college basketball. A mere nine losses under Phog Allen’s rafters during the Self regime is simply unbelievable, but the roar of the arena is a true powerhouse of a sixth man. It is no simple task coming into Allen Fieldhouse as an opponent and leaving with a W. Devonte’ Graham even said he believes the reason they won is because of the fans.
Aside from the obvious home-court advantage, Kansas’s success from three versus Texas’s lack of presence beyond the arc certainly gave the Jayhawks the points they needed to move ahead of the Longhorns in the second half. Graham, Selden, and Ellis all shot 50% from the three, and the team as a whole went 10-25 while Texas only showed 6-16. Those threes hit by the key Kansas players also sent the audience into a frenzy, providing even more energy for the team to feed off of.
The Jayhawks got off to one of their slowest starts this season against the Longhorns today, and the groans from fans could be heard throughout Allen Fieldhouse and the greater Lawrence area. It looked like our beloved Jayhawks would fall yet again, unexpectedly, to an unranked team. Perry Ellis led the way for his team, though, and they rallied with the help of 16,000 of their biggest fans. It was a classic example of the power of the Fieldhouse.
Looking forward, the Jayhawks will travel to Iowa State on Monday, January 25. Hopefully they can ride the momentum from this win into Ames and clinch a road game win there. The game will be at 8pm Central Time on ESPN.
University of Kansas, 2019