🏀 Allen Fieldhouse Welcomes 37th Late Night in the Phog
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 37th annual Late Night in the Phog has once again opened the men’s and women’s basketball season with a bang and a packed Allen Fieldhouse. The night featured a performance from Run-DMC, skits, various competitions and a booming crowd.
Last year’s Late Night was a virtual event, but this year fans and students lined up starting at 11:00 a.m. to experience games, activities and the energy of another University of Kansas sport brought back to the pre-pandemic atmosphere.
To begin the night, the top two men’s and women’s team competed in the three-on-three tournament finals. The week-long tourney started at nearby Ambler Student Recreation Center with the finals played at Late Night before 16,000-plus fans.
Next, KU grad Rob Riggle, welcomed the crowd to Allen Fieldhouse and the third Late Night he has been a part of. Riggle reminisced on some of his memories in the Fieldhouse, including defeating the University of Kentucky and playing KU’s longtime rival, the University of Missouri.
"Allen Fieldhouse is the greatest basketball cathedral in all of the world. This energy is fantastic!"ROB RIGGLE
The crowd then rose for a standing ovation to welcome the women’s basketball team, who ran to center court and performed a choreographed dance. Following the women’s performance, head coach Brandon Schneider addressed the crowd.
"We have a talented group, we have a group that is extremely fun to coach, and I think if you have the opportunity to see them play in November, you will really appreciate how hard they play for you, for our university and our state. This group, I think they have a chance to be special."KANSAS WOMEN'S BASKETBALL COACH BRANDON SCHNEIDER
The women’s team then transitioned to a three-point contest, featuring junior Holly Kersgieter, freshman Mia Vuksic, junior Zakiyah Franklin and graduate-student Julie Brosseau. In the championship round, Vuksic swished her way to victory and 11 three-pointers, slightly edging out Brosseau.
Leading into the women’s scrimmage, each player danced their way onto the court to their favorite hype song. Sophomore Ioanna Chatziloenti opened the scrimmage with a jumper for two points, followed by a swished three from Brosseau and another by Vuksic. Kersgieter, Franklin, junior Taiyanna Jackson, senior Aniya Thomas, junior Chisom Ajekwu, sophopmore Nadira Eltayeb and redshirt-sophomore Chandler Prater also followed with points.
Next, the crowd roared as the men’s basketball team danced their way onto the James Naismith Court and through a joint dance with the Rock Chalk Dancers.
After the performance, men’s basketball head coach Bill Self spoke to the crowd about the high expectations he has for the Jayhawks this season.
"This year we are bigger, we’re faster, we’re stronger. We say it every year, but even more so this year, with the help of you and your support, we’ve got a real chance."KANSAS MEN'S BASKETBALL COACH BILL SELF
Next came the half-court shot contest where two KU students were given two shots to try and win $10,000. After both contestants missed their own attempts, the first contestant was brought back on the floor to shoot from the top of the key to win $5,000 for both contestants, and she swished the jumper to win the prize.
Soon the lights were dimmed, and the Jayhawk men’s team was again welcomed on the floor with background music and some players featuring their best dance moves.
The Jayhawks then went head-to-head in a 20-minute scrimmage, starting with a two-handed slam dunk from super-senior Cam Martin. The impressive play did not stop there, with junior Christian Braun alley-ooping the ball to senior David McCormack for a dunk and Braun finishing his own dunk through a block from super-senior Mitch Lightfoot. Later, redshirt-sophomore Jalen Wilson dribbled coast-to-coast, finishing with a made layup and an and-one. Both redshirt-sophomore Dejuan Harris Jr. and super-senior Chris Teahan also dropped three-pointers. The final score was 41-30, the Crimson team topping the Blue.
To wrap up the night, Grammy Award winning hip-hop group Run-DMC performed for the electric crowd in the Fieldhouse. Students and spectators chanted and sang along with the group while Kansas players joined in on the performance on the court.
The Kansas men will face Emporia State in an exhibition matchup and their first game of the season on November 3 at 7 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse. On the women’s side, the Jayhawks will start their season against SIU-Edwardsville on November 10 at 7 p.m. in Lawrence.