LAWRENCE, Kan. — Along the back wall of the student section at Allen Fieldhouse, the University of Kansas’ basketball arena, there is a banner that reads, “Pay heed, all who enter: Beware of the ‘Phog.'”
The arena, named for Dr. F.C. “Phog” Allen, a Jayhawks‘ head coach for 39 years, has been home to the five-time national champion Kansas men’s basketball program national since 1955. On Saturday, Allen Fieldhouse held a raucous crowd that watched the No. 13-ranked Jayhawks upend the No. 2-ranked Ohio State men’s basketball team, 78-67.
The Buckeyes did not pay heed.
In addition to being the home of the Jayhawks’ national championship-winning teams in 1988 and 2008 and a walk-in trophy case for the program’s 54 conference titles and 13 Final Four appearances, Allen Fieldhouse is home to arguably the best fans in college basketball. Those fans made their voices heard Saturday.
Before the game began, the video board at Allen Fieldhouse measured fan noise at 111 decibels. Comeback attempt after attempt fell short for OSU and the Kansas fans remained loud throughout the contest.
During a Thursday press conference, OSU sophomore guard Aaron Craft said the opportunity to play at Allen Fieldhouse was an awesome one.
“Growing up, Kansas is a place you … want to play in,” Craft said. “It’s going to be awesome to play at Kansas with the backing that they have. It’s going to be a good experience for all of our young guys that haven’t gotten a chance to be a part of an away trip.”
The road atmosphere may have been more than Craft and the Buckeyes anticipated, though.
With a victory secured, Kansas supporters chanted “Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk” in unison during the Buckeyes’ final possession in the closing seconds of the game before erupting again after the final buzzer.
OSU sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas said he didn’t think OSU’s experience at Kansas’ historic gym was lessened by the loss.
“Not really — it took a great mentality to come in here and compete against Kansas,” Thomas said. “I found we were very competitive and that’s what we need to do to win ball games.”
OSU head coach Thad Matta that he was impressed by Jayhawks fans during his first trip to Lawrence.
“We lost to a great, great basketball team in a phenomenal environment,” Matta said. “My hat goes off (to Kansas fans). I’ve never been in this building. The Kansas fans were tremendous today.”
Kansas coach Bill Self agreed.
“The crowd,” Self said, “was unbelievable.”
OSU (8-1) returns to its home court Wednesday against South Carolina-Upstate at the Schottenstein Center. Opening tip is set for 7:30 p.m.