With apologies to the Broncos and Titans, the best show in Colorado sports this weekend took place inside the Coors Events Center today.
It was bananas in Boulder.
On the top, you can see the hysterical aftermath of CU’s first win against Kansas since 2003 — hundreds of Colorado students and Buffs fans swarming the court in basketball bedlam.
On the bottom, you can see how that melee developed. It was frightening, actually. That’s a photographer on the edge of the court, seated right in front of me. With a barrier between us, I saw him get trampled, kicked and otherwise thumped as students rushed the court. Later, the photographer was in the media room being tended to by the medical staff, a bag of ice on his face.
This is a significant triumph for the Buffs program. CU outplayed No. 6 KU and deserved the win, and the Buffs should slide into the Top 25 when the polls are released Monday. This was also a special one for Tad Boyle, who played at Kansas and told me last week is KU is “the standard for what we want to be.”
Going head-to-head with KU coach Bill Self — the best in the business, I think — it was Boyle who made the critical adjustment. A stern believer in man-to-man defense, Boyle switched to a zone that flipped momentum. The Jayhawks didn’t handle it well.
“If it helps you win a game, I’ll swallow my pride and play a zone,” Boyle said.
This kind of win is why CU paid Boyle the big bucks and why CU must do everything it can to keep him in Boulder. In the event, you know, that Self one day takes an NBA job and KU needs a new coach.
About an hour after the game, Boyle was chatting up former AD Mike Bohn in the tunnel. It was Bohn who made the sharp decision to hire Boyle. Bohn deserves the credit there. He had to fight for Boyle. Others at CU wanted Mike Dunlap or Steve McClain.
But the court-rushing was ugly. Askia Booker, whose Euro-step three-pointer immediately ranks among the biggest shots in CU history, sustained a shoulder injury during the melee. “It hurts pretty bad,” Booker said.
It could have been much, much worse. Just minutes before students thundered onto the court like a running of the bulls, a security guard told a woman to move away from the stairs, just in case. She was seated right next to me and held an infant, who was probably six or seven months old. Mom and kid absolutely would have been knocked to the floor if not for the security guard’s watchful eye.
Minutes before Booker’s shot, I noticed the cheerleaders were moved away the student section. So arena security knew the court-storming was a possibility. I don’t think security could have stopped the manic rush of bodies from flooding the court, anyway.
I’ve witnessed probably a dozen or so court-stormings in person. I’ve always been in favor of them. Let the college kids be college kids, I thought.
Not after this one. We’re lucky no one got hauled out on a stretcher.