Energized Allen Fieldhouse leads Kansas past Colorado

Between the glass windows emitting the pale gray of a cold winter day, and the thunderous explosion of the crowd reverberating through the arena from warmups until the end of the game, the atmosphere inside Allen Fieldhouse resembled one normally reserved for battles where teams fight it out with Kansas for a conference title.

In its 90-54 victory on Saturday, Kansas taught Colorado that the Fieldhouse is no kinder to visitors in the non-conference season as it was when the Buffaloes made the annual trip down I-70 as members of the Big 12 conference before they moved to the Pac-12 in 2011.

“That was an old fashioned ass whopping right there is what that was,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “There’s no other way to put it. No excuses. Kansas just came out and manhandled us start to finish and there wasn’t a lot we could do about it.”

Kansas opened the game applying full-court pressure to Colorado in order to ratchet up their own team’s intensity.

The pressure forced 12 Colorado turnovers in the first half, which the Jayhawks capitalized on by turning them into 22 points.

The early success of the full-court pressure led to the Jayhawks employing it throughout the whole game.

“The plan was to challenge ourselves,” senior guard Travis Releford said. “Recent games we played at home, we haven’t made teams feel the pressure of our defense, so we figure we get out, because Colorado’s a good team, and we get out and pressure them and make them feel uncomfortable on offense, and that’s what we did.”

A key factor in the pressure was the play of senior forward Kevin Young.

Young energized the team with his hustle and tenacity in the full court defense, whether he was guarding the in-bounder or running around preventing an on-court player from becoming open.

“He just ran, he jumped, he went after the ball, he didn’t make any shots that were hard shots, he turned it over once where he tried to make a great play, but other than that he just played within himself but just played so hard,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.

Young, long touted as the best energy player on the team, scored a career-high 16 points in his first ever game against Colorado.

He was unable to play the last time these teams met, as he had to sit out the Buffaloes final season in the Big 12 after transferring from Loyola Marymount.

His season on the bench played a big role in why he plays the game in such an intense fashion.

“Because I sat out two years ago, I’ve just been waiting,” Young said. “You just have to play hard every time you get out there because you never know when the next time you’ll get out there is.”

Before the game, Self asked his team what the environment was like when the Jayhawks took the court in warmups and senior guard Elijah Johnson said it felt like a conference game out there.

Self responded that to the fans, this was a conference game.

“If you’re going to play basketball in college, there’s no better setting than playing a Saturday afternoon game in Allen Fieldhouse, with the light shining through the windows,” Self said. “To me it’s about as cool and unique as any place that you could possibly play a game.”

  • Updated Feb. 3, 2013 at 4:04 pm