Growing up a lifelong sports fan, I’ve always dreamed of a team in my city winning a title or making a long playoff run. Upsets and championships are what make sports fun. They're unpredictable and extreme, just like the celebrations that follow. I've been incredibly close to witnessing a major win, but hadn't able to experience it until now.
On Saturday, February 10th, I experienced the next best thing to a championship. Baylor basketball beat #10 Kansas 80-64. The upset was worthy of a court storm. Every home football game last year, there were murmurs and whispers about storming against Oklahoma or West Virginia on Homecoming, but the Bears always lost in the end. This time, they finished with a win, securing the largest Baylor upset of the 2017-2018 school year to date.
The Bear Pit was electric all game, going crazy after Manu Lecomte’s deep 3’s, Mark Vital’s halftime rejection, and Jo Lual-Acuil’s dunks. As the final buzzer sounded, students inched towards the rail. The referees made their way into the locker rooms with haste, and Kansas coach Bill Self started the post game handshake line as Baylor was still running out the clock.
The Bear Pit leadership team deserves a lot of credit. Senior Hayden Johnson instructed all students with front row seats to not jump the rail until after both Kansas players and the referees had made it safely to their locker rooms. As soon as that had happened, the floodgates were broken, and students began jumping over the rail onto the court. Students rushed the court but hesitated just short of half-court, as the Baylor team and staff were finishing up their post game prayer.
The next couple of minutes were an unforgettable blur. Jo Lual-Acuil (a 7-foot center) runs from the prayer and jumps into Hayden Johnson's arms, then a huge mosh pit forms over the Baylor logo. In all the craziness, I get pushed into forward Terry Maston. He was having just as good of a time as everyone else on the court, jumping a whole head higher than any other students. The players began to trickle out of the crowd and back into their locker room, and the school’s Alma Mater was then played. I experienced an overwhelming sense of school spirit and pride as the students joined in song at half court.
This Saturday (February 17th), Baylor plans to do it all again against the 7th ranked team in the country, Texas Tech. The Bears need to keep playing tough and winning these games if they want to make the NCAA tournament at the end of the year, so come out to the Ferrell Center on the 17th. The game is at 6:30, so come early, and be loud for the Bears.