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Such fanaticism can sometimes get out of hand. Kansas students have such a reputation for rowdy courtside behavior that they are now prohibited from sitting behind the opponent's bench. Homemade signs are also proscribed, but nonetheless in honor of this auspicious occasion, an artistic group from Grace Pearson Scholarship Hall worked up a bed sheet that showed K-State star Curtis Redding saying AS LONG AS I GET MY 30 POINTS, WHO CARES IF WE LOSE?
In the hours after the shooting practice, the players returned to their dorm to rest, and Owens went grocery shopping "to try to take my mind off the game." Meanwhile, the line outside the field house grew to several hundred students. Hallenbeck and his friends were able to prop themselves up against the door, where they were under cover, but farther back in line fans stood in the snow, wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags. Among them were two Kansas coeds and their boyfriends from Kansas State. "I borrowed an ID card for him, and we got in the line before dawn," one girl said. "He better get a ticket for me when we play in Manhattan."
As 5 o'clock approached, the crowd grew restless. There was rhythmic cheering—"Open the door! Open the door!"—and only a fool would have tried to break in up front. Because he was first in line, Hallenbeck was interviewed for the pregame television show "Aren't we crazy," he said.
Finally, at 4:49, 11 minutes early and none too soon, the doors opened, Hallenbeck's ID was checked and his $15 season ticket was punched. He went immediately to the sixth row of the bleachers and discovered to his disappointment that he was not the first person inside.
A few rows above him sat some Jayhawk baseball players who had come in early to "work security." Allen Field House is not worthy of protection merely as a historic site; in the last three years it has received $1 million in improvements. Phog might not even recognize the place. The old raised court he knew has been replaced by a synthetic surface. The floor was sawed into 4 x 4- and 4 x 8-foot sections that were sold for $25 and $50 each as mementos. A local doctor bought enough pieces to build a wall in his house.
In the 2� hours before the game started, the students passed the time reading, playing cards and hurling Frisbees and toilet paper. One coed sat in the first row behind Owens' chair, so she would be in position to "hear him yell." Another student, a local boy from Lawrence, said he has been coming to Jayhawk games for years. "I got Jo Jo White's sweatband and towel after his last game," he boasted. "I still have them at home."
When the Kansas team finally appeared at 7 o'clock, there were loud cheers. A few moments later, as Kansas State came onto the floor, there were loud boos, the Redding banner was unfurled and Curtis was pelted with hot dogs. Cheerleaders cheered, tumblers tumbled and the band played a '40s arrangement of In the Mood. Upon returning to the dressing room for last-minute instructions, the Jayhawks heard Owens say, "We have five seniors playing their last home game against K-State tonight. Let's make it a great occasion."
For most of the evening it was anything but. Kansas had to come from seven points behind to take the lead late in the game, and when that happened, all the spectators started swaying their hands—this is known as "Waving the Wheat"—in rhythm to the Jayhawk light song. That was a sure sign that K-State had lost for the 114th time.
"We expected to win 95-52," Hallenbeck said, "but you take what you can get." It has been that way at Kansas for 79 years.