🏀 Jayhawks Celebrate 39th Late Night in the Phog
LAWRENCE, Kan. – The 39th annual Late Night in the Phog presented by HyVee has again opened the men’s and women’s basketball season with a bang Friday night before a packed Allen Fieldhouse.
Late Night featured a performance from Flo Rida, various competitions, scrimmages for both basketball teams and a booming crowd.
The KU cheerleading squad started the night with a thrilling performance, including impressive skills and tricks. After their performance, the dance team joined the cheer squad on the court to lead the crowd in the Rock Chalk Chant and KU Alma Mater.
The historical countdown video began to get the crowd involved and excited, and Late Night was in full swing.
The crowd then rose for a standing ovation to welcome the reigning WNIT National Women’s Basketball Championship team. The crowd cheered for each individual athlete as their names were announced.
Head Coach Brandon Schneider then addressed the crowd, thanked fans for their support, and shared high expectations for the team this year.
“You guys are going to love this team,” Schneider said. “So, buy a ticket. Be a witness. It’s going to be an incredible ride.”
The team then began their warmup before taking center court with a 10-minute scrimmage. Super-senior center Taiyanna Jackson got the crowd going when she drained a three. Holly Kersgieter then made a strong layup for the Crimson team. Team Blue went up 18-11 after a three from super-senior Zakiyah Franklin. Later, senior Wyvette Mayberry hit a three for the Crimson team, cutting the blue team’s lead to two. However, freshman McKenzie Smith closed out the scrimmage with a layup. Time ran out, and the Blue team took the win with a score of 31-27.
After the women’s scrimmage, men’s head basketball coach Bill Self spoke to the crowd about the exciting season ahead. The crowd roared as the men’s basketball team was introduced.
“This is the best place to play, and tonight proves it to be true,” Self said. “It’s a great time to be a fan of the Jayhawks and it’s an unbelievable time to be a student at KU right now.”
In the men’s 15-minute scrimmage, the Blue team scored first with a three from super-senior Nicolas Timberlake. The Crimson team quickly took the lead with back-to-back dunks by graduate Kevin McCullar Jr. and freshman Johnny Furphy. Impressive play did not stop there as senior Hunter Dickinson and junior Zach Clemence allowed the Blue team to come just behind with impressive shots from under the basket. However, a three made by McCullar Jr. closed the scrimmage out. The final score was 24-19, with the Crimson team coming on top.
The last competition of the evening was Bill Self’s $10,000 shot.
KU students had a chance to win $10,000. Self allowed each student to choose a basketball staff member or a former player to make the half-court shot.
The first fan, Molly Stasiuk, a senior from Leawood, Kansas attempts from KU men’s basketball staff member Brennan Bechard were unfortunately unsuccessful. However, Jose Guzman, a sophomore from Ness City, Kansas chose Mario Chalmers. On Chalmers’ final attempt, he drained it and Self wrote both students a check for $10,000.
To wrap up the night, Flo Rida took the stage and gave an electrifying performance for fans and spectators.