Buzzer Beaten - Legends Game Ends in Draw
Sept. 24, 2011
Postgame Press Conference Video: Part 1 / Part 2 Replay Game on AT&T Jayhawk All-Access ($)
Brown Has Memorable Day Back on the Bench at the Phog
Pierce and Chalmers Combine For Perfect Ending to Legends of the Phog
LAWRENCE, Kan. – In a game featuring 23 of the all-time legends of Kansas men’s basketball history, two stole the show at the end to send all 16,300 fans home happy from the Legends of the Phog exhibition game, which ended in an 111-111 tie, in historic Allen Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.
With the game tied at 108 and the entire soldout crowd on its feet in anticipation of something great about to happen, Paul Pierce (1996-98) delivered with a three-pointer to put his Blue team up with 5.1 seconds on the clock, setting off a deafening roar in the Fieldhouse.
“If you don’t believe that you’re going to hit it, then why be out there,” Paul Pierce said about knowing whether the shot was going to fall or not. “I told Max (Falkenstien) at the half that I don’t plan on losing this one, so I think I’m 55-0-1.”
However, not to be outdone, Mario Chalmers(2006-08) recreated his “Miracle” shot, knocking down a three-pointer from the top of the key as time expired to tie the game, just as he did with two seconds remaining in the 2008 NCAA National Championship Game against Memphis, which the Jayhawks went on to win in overtime, 75-68. With the Legends of the Phog contest tied at 111 and no possible way of creating a more memorable ending, the officials declared the game a tie and all of the players received a standing ovation in the Fieldhouse.
“I think it was better than what I’d hoped, and I had thought it’d be great.”Head Coach Bill Self
Divided into Blue and White teams coached by Larry Brown (1984-88) and Ted Owens (1965-83), the Legends of the Phog game gave the Jayhawk faithful a chance to see some of its favorite Kansas men’s basketball players of years past run up and down historic James Naismith Court one more time. Participants ranged from players who recently left Kansas to turn professional, such as Josh Selby (2011), the Morris twins (2009-11), Xavier Henry (2010) and Julian Wright (2006-07), while also including legends from previous decades like Ron Kellogg (1983-86) and Darnell Valentine (1978-81).
The exhibition included many special ceremonies and recognitions, beginning with a video featuring highlights of every individual participating in the game to introduce the two teams prior to tipoff. Each player went to center court after his individual highlight reel played on the video board and received a loud cheer from the crowd. Members of the 1952, 1988 and 2008 National Championship teams were also recognized during one of the breaks of the game to a standing ovation in the Fieldhouse.
“I think it was better than what I’d hoped and I had thought it’d be great,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “Mario (Chalmers) and Paul (Pierce) were key to getting everybody back because they’ve done so much for this place the last 15 years. Also getting Coach Owens, and of course, one of my mentors, Coach Brown, back I think is always a treat. I thought this would be really cool and it turned out to be–I don’t know how these guys feel–a lot better than what we even envisioned.”
In addition to giving the Jayhawk faithful a chance to reminisce about the all-time greats who have run through the tunnel at Allen Fieldhouse, the game also helped honor the memory of former KU assistant coach Neil Dougherty, who died tragically this past summer. Kansas Athletics will donate a portion of the proceeds from the game in honor of Dougherty to one of his favorite local charities – the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.
During the second media timeout of the first half, Darnell Valentine gave a brief message to everybody in the Fieldhouse about Coach Dougherty “feeling the love” from the energy of crowd, and in the second half Pierce gave a teary-eyed speech to say how special it was to be back in the Fieldhouse and how much Coach Dougherty meant to him as a mentor and a father-figure when he became a Jayhawk.
Pierce finished the game with 16 points and eight rebounds, while Chalmers posted a double-double for the White team with 17 points and 10 assists. Cole Aldrich (2008-10) also registered a double-double for the White team with 14 points and 19 rebounds. Brandon Rush (2006-08) led the White team with 18 points, while Wright added 14. Darnell Jackson (2005-08) added 11 points, and Jeff Graves (2003-04) and Darrell Arthur (2007-08) were close behind with nine points each.
Henry led all scorers with his 23 points for the Blue team. Other double-digit scorers for the White team were Ryan Robertson (1996-99) with 15, Nick Collison (2000-03) with 14, Marcus Morris with 11 and Markieff Morris and Selby with 10 points apiece.
Other Legends of the Phog included Jeff Hawkins (2003-06), Billy Thomas (1995-98), Wayne Simien (2002-05), Christian Moody (2003-06), Greg Ostertag (1992-95), Nick Bradford (1997-2000) and Scot Pollard (1994-97).