LAWRENCE, Kan. — Mark Brandmeyer couldn’t wait to get his Rock Chalk backside home.
Not to see himself dozens (and dozens) of times on television, of course — although he knew that was coming, too.
Oh, no. He wanted to see what the hell happened while Wayne Selden’s left foot was in his face, blocking his view of the game.
"I missed the play that he saved the ball (on)," Brandmeyer, Kansas class of ’82, said after his Jayhawks held off Baylor, 78-68, for the program’s fifth straight win to open Big 12 play and its fourth straight victory over a ranked opponent.
"(It was) so incredible. It was a hustle play. And what an incredible athlete Wayne Selden is."
The 6-foot-5 freshman from Massachusetts had already endeared himself to KU fans with an Aaron Craft-like dive for a loose ball at Oklahoma on Jan. 8.
This time, the affection was up close and, um, personal.
With 11:24 left in the contest and KU clinging to a 51-44 lead, Selden chased a loose ball all the way over to the scorer’s table. And that’s where Brandmeyer comes in.
Like a dog chasing a bumper, Selden stayed with the rock, leaping headfirst over the scorer’s table — where his left foot appeared to strike Brandmeyer in the face — while flinging the ball back into play with his right hand.
"Oh, my God," said Brandmeyer, who was sitting at the scorer’s table when Selden laid him out. "I’m just glad he hit me and not the lady sitting next to me."
While Brandmeyer’s view was obscured, the Jayhawks’ guard landed all the way in the first row of the stands. The pass in question, of course, landed in the hands of teammate Joel Embiid, who banked it in to put the hosts up nine.
The Phog exploded, and the Bears were toast. Selden’s dive sparked a 9-0 run and pushed the lead to 60-44 with eight minutes and change to go.
"Just got to go get the ball, there’s no second thought about it," Selden, who had seven points and two assists in 22 minutes, said after the game. "After I hit the ground, that’s when I start to think about it."
How did it feel to land?
"Not too bad," Selden replied. "Now I feel it."
Of course, as cool as it looked live, replays of Selden’s dive were, shall we say, less kind. Embiid’s basket shouldn’t have counted, as Selden’s right foot while he planted to take off appeared to be several inches out of bounds.
"Ooooh, he may have been out of bounds," KU coach Bill Self said with a chuckle after watching the dive in slow motion during his postgame news conference.
He may have. But you know what? Brandmeyer doesn’t care about that. Or that he didn’t get an apology from Selden after getting a face full of adidas.
"Naw, he was back out (on the court) — he was in the game," the KU alum said. "No, God bless him. He got right back after it and made a hell of a play."
You can follow Sean Keeler on Twitter @seankeeler or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.