Jayhawks Ride Comes To Shocking End

There are some losses that can leave some speechless and searching for answers as to why and for the Kansas Jayhawks, this is one that will linger, one that is still hard to fathom.

There are some losses that can leave some speechless and searching for answers as to why and for the Kansas Jayhawks, this is one that will linger, one that is still hard to fathom.

In the end, it was just that, as Trey Burke's miracle heave from 30 feet away tied the game and sent the NCAA South Regional overtime, where they prevailed 87-85 ending the Jayhawks season in a remarkable come from behind fashion that will take a long time to heal from, Friday night at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, TX.

"This will go down as one of the toughest games that obviously we've been a part of and certainly I've been a part of," Kansas coach Bill Self said.

All seemed well with 2:52 remaining in regulation. Kansas center Jeff Withey had just thrown down a vicious dunk that appeared to be more of an exclamation  point, as KU looked safely on their way to the Elite Eight.

They had led since there was over 15 minutes to play in the first half. They had shot 55 percent from the field and had been over 60 percent for most of the game. They had outscored the Wolverines in the paint 60-40. Everything added up to another Kansas win and a continuation of their almost inevitable return to the Final Four.

But, then everything flipped on its head and Michigan began chipping away, aided by turnovers by Kansas guard Elijah Johnson and the awakening of Burke, who after a scoreless first half, ignited for 23 points and 10 assists. 

But, his biggest three came after Johnson missed the front end of a one and one with 12 seconds remaining. 

Michigan forward Glenn Robinson III rebounded the miss and when Burke ended up with the ball 30 feet away from the basket, he launched what seemed like a desperation heave which fell through, tying the game and sending it to overtime.

In the OT, he added five more points and thanks to the help of forward Mitch McGary, who scored 25 points and hauled down 14 rebounds, the Wolverines unthinkably assumed command, building a five point lead, which was their biggest of the game.

"I'm proud of them because they deserve this," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "I feel bad for Kansas, they really have a good team. But, the ball bounced our way down the few minutes and we keep on playing."

Down five with 52 seconds remaining in overtime, Kansas seemed poised to rally as they had all year. Johnson cut the lead to two at 87-85 with a three pointer with 45 seconds left.

After Burke missed a layup, Kansas had the ball with 9.4 seconds remaining and Self would put the ball in his senior point guard's hands.

Johnson drove inside and appeared to have a layup, but turned and fired the ball outside to guard Naadir Tharpe on the left wing. Tharpe faked and drove a little closer and put up an off balanced jumper as time expired, which clanged off the side of the rim and ended the Jayhawks season.

It also ended a miserable night for Johnson, who earlier in the night was assessed a flagrant foul for hitting McGary in the groin in the early moments of the game, on his way to also committing five turnovers at critical times. The final play was the just the heartbreaking capper to the night.

"The original plan was to go for two, but it was take what the defense gives us and we didn't get a good look at the end," senior guard Travis Releford said.

However, on a night where five Jayhawks scored in double figures, led by Ben McLemore's 20 points and on a night where everything seemed to be in their favor, those looking for answers can just listen to Self's accurate and simple description of what transpired Friday night.

"Give Michigan credit, they basically had to have a lot of things go right and they made all the plays and didn't seem like we made very many. And of course their player of the year stepped up and was unbelievable late and made some tough plays."

"But, we're right there where we wanted the game and of course, the last three minutes we didn't do a lot of things right, which will be something we'll look back on and regret for a long, long time. But, props to Michigan for making all the plays late." 

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