While a few hundred seats went unclaimed, Saturday’s game was officially a sellout at Gallagher-Iba Arena.
Unofficially, it was OSU’s best crowd in two seasons, playing a part in an 85-77 upset win over No. 1-ranked Kansas.
"It was great,” said Cowboys coach Travis Ford,
who delivered pizzas Friday night to students camped out in some 25 tents. "We went out there and hung out with them, took them pizzas and just talking to them. You could feel it, just talking to them, what a big game this was and what it meant to the students who were camping out.
"And then to walk into a packed house and it got as loud as I’ve ever been in an arena – anywhere. And I’ve been in some loud ones as a coach and a player and I’ve never been in an atmosphere as loud as it was in our arena today on a couple of occasions.”
Ford said the impact is immeasurable.
"It makes the biggest different in the world for our team,” he said. "It is a huge, huge lift. It gives our team confidence. It gives our team adrenaline. There’s no question it’s one of the top atmospheres in college basketball when it’s like that.”
WHAT A LIFT
After the game, students stormed the floor, some filing down to the Gallagher-Iba floor from the top sections.
The Cowboys soon found themselves swallowed up in the scrum, when at one point, Keiton Page
was hoisted atop the crowd.
"Actually, that was a great feeling,” Page said. "I was claustrophobic. I was getting hot, so they picked me up and I got a little breather.
"I was pretty excited when they did that. I thought I was going to pass out there for a little while.”
The Jayhawks were taller at almost every spot on the floor and figured to hold a major advantage in the post with 6-foot-11 Cole Aldrich.