NCAA Tournament

KU fans unload tickets, head home after Jayhawks’ stunning loss

Updated: 2013-03-30T03:06:18Z

By SAM McDOWELL

The Kansas City Star

— Dressed in a blue-collared shirt, red pants and a Kansas Jayhawks hat, Tracy Altman sat in the stands at Cowboys Stadium and hardly flinched. A blank stare consumed his face as he looked onto the court.

For the previous five minutes, Altman claimed he didn’t utter a word. He wiped his face with both hands before finally speaking.

“I think I’m in shock a little bit,” he said. “I don't understand how that just happened.”

Kansas fans traveled in throngs to Cowboys Stadium on Friday, but they will be returning home with a mixture of shock and disappointment.

Rather than celebrating a trip to the Elite Eight, they watched as Michigan erased a 14-point lead to escape with an 87-85 overtime win and end KU’s season.

Within minutes after the game, KU fans were holding Elite Eight tickets in the air in the concourses, trying to sell them before leaving town.

“It’s devastating,” said Brady Ayer of Wichita, who tried approaching Michigan fans to sell his tickets for Sunday’s game. “I thought there was no way we’re losing this game. But it seemed like everything changed in an instant.”

Even Roger Theis, who said he has been traveling with KU for decades, called the ending “stunning.” But as he reflected on the season, which KU finished 31-6, he said it became a little less so.

“The guard play that has concerned us all year kind of rose up at the end and bit us,” Theis said. “I guess what happened at the end shocked me in the course of this game, but in the course of the greater season, what we did at the end was what hurt us all season.”

To reach Sam McDowell, send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell11.

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