By Matthew Soderberg | Sports Writer
A capacity crowd of 10,637 fans showed up to support their teams at the Ferrell Center Saturday as No. 1 Baylor faced No. 3 Kansas for dominance in the Big 12. The fans weren’t turned away by the high ticket prices, even as the cost for a seat was at a minimum over $200. Even ESPN personality Jay Bilas said he heard about the difficulty getting into the game.
“I’ve been told that tickets are going for a little more than face value,” Bilas said.
With ESPN’s “College GameDay” on campus, as many as 850 students camped out on the concourse inside the Ferrell Center starting at 5 p.m. the night before to ensure they got a good seat for the game. At 10 a.m., an hour before tipoff, the broadcast began and the fans roared throughout as the rest of the stadium filled out. Baylor head coach Scott Drew said his team needed that kind of energy for such an early game.
“I think the second time we were No. 1, we’ve handled it a lot better,” Drew said. “I think the more you get an atmosphere like this, the better you handle it as well. I thought our guys were obviously really fired up to play. Just so you know, 11 a.m. games for college kids aren’t the easiest, so it takes a great atmosphere and a great game to get them ready to go.”
Kansas held a comfortable lead throughout most of the game, but the Bears started to make runs for the lead as the second half dwindled to a close. With 50 seconds left on the clock, the Jayhawks led by seven points, but after two threes by Baylor, the lead was cut to one with 16 seconds left, and the crowd started swaying and chanting and pumping up the team. Kansas point guard Devon Dotson said after the game the feeling inside the Ferrell was electric.
“The energy in the building was loud,” Dotson said. “The fans were in it, so you can just feel the buzz around it and it was an exciting time.”
Even Kansas head coach Bill Self, who has been a head coach in the Big 12 for 17 years, said that was “the best environment we played in this year.”