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KU fans on Mass Street reflect on rollercoaster of emotions before championship win

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The ups and downs before the Kansas Jayhawks’ eventual victory over the North Carolina Tar Heels were, at times, difficult to watch.

Fortunately, though, Bill Self’s team held on to win 72-69, and fans erupted with excitement all over Lawrence.

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Anna Jones, 20, is a sophomore at KU. She watched the game downtown with friends.

“The beginning of the game was electric. Then we started slipping,” she said. “I went outside and walked around downtown for about 30 minutes. This win was the greatest feeling ever. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime event.”

Ron Hall, a former basketball coach, drove to Lawrence from Lenexa to watch the game, though that’s not quite as far as he drove to watch the Jayhawks win in San Antonio in 2008. His two daughters graduated from KU, and on Monday, he got to watch the game with his grandchildren — “two future Jayhawks.”

“This game was a lot more depressing (than the game in 2008), and then a lot more exciting,” Hall said.

Daisy Williams, 7, a first-grader at Quail Run Elementary, watched the game with her family at Abe & Jake’s Landing. She decided toward the end of the game what she wanted to do as soon as KU won.

“I was going to scream, ‘JAYHAWKS!’ as soon as I got outside.”

Carter Gaskins / The Lawrence Times
Carter Gaskins / The Lawrence Times

Arrington Williams, 9, a third-grader at Quail Run, also watched with family at Abe & Jake’s.

He watched his first game at Allen Fieldhouse earlier this year and saw KU beat TCU. For Monday night’s game, he decided to wear all the same clothes, from jersey and hat all the way down to his socks.

“I thought it was crazy. The last minute was really good.”

Adrian Kelley, 22, is a junior at KU. He was 8 years old when KU won in 2008, and he watched that game but doesn’t remember it clearly.

“It was really a tough first half, but it was a nail-biter the whole way through. It was fun to actually get the chance to see them win again.”

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Ray Coleman, 11, is a fifth-grader at Cordley Elementary. Watching the game at home, he decided to go to his room at halftime — but then he heard some yelling at the second half and came out long enough to watch KU go on a 7-0 run.

“I didn’t like the game at the half. I thought it was over. I was really nervous,” he said.

Marcus Davis, who watched the game at a friend’s house, said it was like 2008 all over again.

“It’s been a long time coming. We should have won in 2020 but then everything go shut down.”

Carter Gaskins / The Lawrence Times
Carter Gaskins / The Lawrence Times

Nick Sprecker, 15, is a freshman and a basketball player at Free State High School.

“Our hopes were down in the first half, but we had to give it our all,” he said. “We pulled through. It was amazing.”

Riley Stowers, 21, is a junior at KU.

“I thought the game was amazing. I love Remy Martin. We wouldn’t be here without Remy Martin.”

Alexa Blumberg, 20, is also a KU junior. She watched the game downtown with friends.

“It was pretty scary. Whatever Bill Self said at halftime worked. The energy made the whole game come together.”

Zulla Williams, 5, attends Hilltop preschool.

She said, succinctly, “It was awesome.”

Carter Gaskins / The Lawrence Times
Carter Gaskins / The Lawrence Times

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Andrea Albright (she/her), reporter, can be reached at aalbright (at) lawrencekstimes (dot) com. Read more of her work for the Times here. Check out her staff bio here.

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