NCAA TOURNAMENT: Michigan upends top-seeded Kansas in OT
Trey Burke kept alive Michigan’s deepest NCAA tournament run since the Fab Five era nearly 20 years ago with a shot the Wolverines won’t soon forget.
Call it the Fab 3.
The sophomore standout scored all 23 of his points in the second half and overtime, including a long, tying 3-pointer in the final moments of regulation as Michigan rallied to beat Kansas 87-85 in the South Regional semifinals Friday night.
“Great shot,” said Glenn Robinson III, who made it possible with a key bucket during a 14-4 run over the final 2:52 of regulation. “It was deep, too. He always makes that in practice.”
Ben McLemore had 20 points to lead the Jayhawks (31-6), who looked to be on their way to a third straight regional final before Michigan’s improbable rally. Instead, they became the third No. 1 seed to fall in this tournament, joining Gonzaga and Indiana.
“Well, this will certainly go down as one of the toughest games that obviously we’ve been a part of and I’ve been a part of,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “But props to Michigan for making all the plays late.”
That’s for sure.
The fourth-seeded Wolverines (29-7) were down five when Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left, but Robinson won a scramble for the ball and hit a reverse layup to force Kansas to win the game at the free-throw line.
The Jayhawks couldn’t do it. Burke’s tying shot — he pulled up from well beyond the arc — came with 4.2 seconds left after Elijah Johnson missed a free throw and Michigan got the rebound.
Moments earlier, with 21 seconds remaining, Johnson had hit two from the line to keep the Kansas lead at five. Burke had scored on a layup to get Michigan back to within three.
“We never had the mindset that we were going to lose the game,” Burke said. “When we were down 14, we knew anything could still happen. It’s March, anything can happen.”
Michigan went to back-to-back championship games a generation ago with the Fab Five, led by Chris Webber, Juwan Howard and Jalen Rose. But the folks in Ann Arbor will be talking for years about the shot by Burke under the huge video board in Cowboys Stadium, just down the road from where Howard and Rose played their last game together with Ray Jackson and Jimmy King in a regional final loss to Arkansas in 1994.
The Wolverines will play Florida in the regional final Sunday. The third-seeded Gators beat 15th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast 62-50.
“Just to be able to get this program back to the Elite Eight, it feels good,” Burke said. “But we want to go further.”
Kansas pushed out to a 10-point lead early by dominating around the basket. McLemore’s first basket was the first outside the paint as the Jayhawks scored 34 of their 40 first-half points from inside.
Withey put Kansas ahead 29-19 with a turnaround shot that had McGary shrugging at a teammate and saying, “I’m trying.”
McGary wasn’t having nearly as much trouble on the offensive end, leading the Wolverines with 11 points and five rebounds in the first half. He picked up where he left off in the third round against Virginia Commonwealth, when he had season highs of 21 points and 14 rebounds.
Michigan pulled within 40-34 at the half when Nik Stauskas hit a 3-pointer and had chance for a four-point play when McLemore bumped him on the shot. But he missed the free throw.
No matter. In the end, Burke was Fab-u-lous and the Wolverines are one win away from the Final Four.
DUKE 71, MICHIGAN STATE 61: Seth Curry shot Duke right into the regional finals — and put Mike Krzyzewski on the verge of another milestone.
Curry scored 29 points and the Blue Devils beat Michigan State to advance to the Midwest Regional final.
If No. 2 seed Duke (30-5) beats top-seeded Louisville (32-5) in Sunday’s regional final, Krzyzewski would tie John Wooden’s record with 12 Final Four trips.
Third-seeded Michigan State (27-9) just couldn’t keep up with Curry and Duke’s shooters. Keith Appling had 16 points for the Spartans.
Curry’s sixth 3-pointer of the game broke a 38-38 tie early in the second half, sending Duke on a 9-0 run. It also matched the school record for most 3s in an NCAA tourney game, most recently accomplished by Jason Williams on March 22, 2001, against UCLA.
LOUISVILLE 77, OREGON 69: Louisville survived its first test.
Russ Smith matched his career high with 31 points to lead three Cardinals in double figures, and top-seeded Louisville showed it can win close games, too, posting a narrow victory over Oregon.
Kevin Ware added 11 and Gorgui Dieng had 10 points and nine rebounds for Louisville (32-5), which has won 13 straight.
The 12th-seeded Ducks (28-9) at least made a game of it late. After Louisville went up 66-48 with 9:01 left, Oregon made six straight field goals to close to 70-64 — the closest anyone’s been to the Cardinals in a couple of weeks.
But Kevin Ware scored on a layup and Chane Behanan threw down a monstrous dunk to put the game out of reach. Still, Oregon is only the second team to be within single digits at the buzzer during Louisville’s run.
E.J. Singler’s 15 points led five Ducks in double figures.