Wolverines punch ticket to Elite Eight with OT win over Kansas
Arlington, TX (Sports Network) - Down 14 points with under seven minutes remaining, the Michigan Wolverines looked like a beaten team against Kansas.
Trey Burke, though, scored all 23 of his points after halftime, and hit the tying 3-pointer in the dying seconds of regulation, and Michigan beat the top- seeded Jayhawks, 87-85, in overtime in the South Regional semifinals.
The fourth-seeded Wolverines moved to the Elite Eight for the first time since 1994 when they lost to top seed Arkansas in the Midwest Regional final.
Mitch McGary had 25 points and 14 rebounds for the Wolverines (29-7), who will face third seed Florida in the regional final Sunday afternoon. The Gators came back from an 11-point first-half deficit to oust No. 15 seed Florida Gulf Coast, 62-50, in the second game at Cowboys Stadium.
"I think everybody that watched this game tonight saw what we have been coaching all year. It's a bunch of young men that have high character, they play to win," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "They play together. And they've been persistent all year long at trying to do their best, without any types of ups and downs getting in the way."
Last year's national runner-up to Kentucky, the Jayhawks (31-6) looked on their way to the Elite Eight for a third straight year, but blew a five-point lead with under a minute left in regulation.
Ben McLemore scored 20 for Kansas, while Travis Releford tallied 16 points and Elijah Johnson 13 points.
"We had a chance to seal the game, but we made some bonehead plays late," Releford said.
Kansas is the third No. 1 seed to fall in this tournament, joining Gonzaga and Indiana. Louisville, the top seed in the Midwest, moved into the Elite Eight with a win over Oregon Friday night.
Johnson's 3-pointer from the top of the arc brought Kansas within two points with 45 seconds left in overtime.
The Wolverines were then whistled for a shot clock violation after Jeff Withey blocked Burke's layup attempt, and 9.4 seconds were put on the clock.
Johnson dribbled to the right baseline, but was closed off and he passed to Naadir Tharpe, whose running 3-point attempt hit high off the backboard and grazed the rim before falling to the floor, as the Wolverines celebrated.
Johnson had a chance to ice the win with 12.6 seconds left in regulation, but the front end of his 1-and-1 attempt clanked off the back of the rim.
Burke, with Kevin Young in his face, drained a 30 foot shot from left of the top of the arc with 4.2 seconds left.
"I stepped back, got some separation and hit the shot," Burke said. "We were all very happy. But it was four seconds left, so I just tried to calm everybody down and let them know that this game isn't over. They had another shot of winning. But once we went into overtime, we just did a really good job of sticking it out."
Withey was perplexed how the Jayhawks allowed the shot to occur.
"We were switching a five. I don't know what happened," Withey said. "I don't think we got to him on time and he hit just an unbelievable shot."
After the game, Kansas coach Bill Self was asked why he didn't call for his team to foul to prevent a 3-pointer.
"I wouldn't have fouled with eight seconds left," Self said. "Looking back now I wish we would have, obviously. But that was not that difficult a switch, and don't give up a three, and we let him come off naked and shoot it. It was from 27 to 30 feet, but still it was a great play by a big-time player."
Tharpe's ensuing 3-point try from the top of the arc caromed off the front of the rim and the teams went to overtime tied at 76.
In its first Sweet 16 in 19 years, the Wolverines were well behind as the crowd at Cowboys Stadium sensed the Jayhawks were about to finish off the job, but Burke carried the Wolverines down the stretch.
Johnson's 3-pointer with 6:50 remaining had the Jayhawks ahead 68-54, but the Wolverines worked themselves back into the game thanks to turnovers.
"We definitely didn't see fear. Everybody knew that the game wasn't over," Michigan guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said. "We've been in this situation before, earlier in the year. And we just had to go out there and gut it out."
McGary's layup had the margin down to six with under two minutes left, and Burke's 3-pointer with 1:15 to go brought it to 74-69.
McLemore missed a layup with 40 seconds left, but after Hardaway missed a 3-pointer from the left wing, Glenn Robinson III came up with the ball under the basket and hit a reverse layup with 28.9 seconds to go.
Johnson made two free throws with 21 seconds remaining for a 76-71 margin, but Burke drove in for a layup seven seconds later to set up the crazy end to regulation.
Robinson made another huge play in OT when he stepped into the passing lane and was fouled with 52.2 seconds left. Two free throws later it was 87-82.
Within the first two minutes of the game, during an inbounds play, Johnson delivered a shot with his right hand to the groin area of McGary. Officials stopped play to review the infraction and deemed a flagrant 1 violation.
Johnson picked up his third foul with less than 11 minutes expired in the opening half, but the Jayhawks boosted their lead to 27-17 following a Tharpe layup.
"We played pretty good the first half considering our starting point guard didn't play at all," Self said referring to Johnson. "The second half he did some good things making shots. I know he wishes he had a couple of those possessions back."
Michigan got within 40-34 at the half and finally pushed ahead at 79-78 in overtime on Burke's 3-pointer. It was the first lead for the Wolverines since 9-8.
"Going into the second half, they told me to be a little bit more aggressive, look for my shot as well as getting everybody else involved," Burke said. "I just tried to get it into the paint and make plays for the team to win."
The Jayhawks shot 19-of-28 from the field in the first half with McLemore leading the way with 10 points ... Withey had 12 points, eight rebounds and five blocks ... Young scored 12 for Kansas, which shot 54.5 percent ... Robinson had 13 points, Nik Stauskas 11 and Hardaway 10 ... Burke, who also had 10 assists, missed all four of his first-half field goal tries, but ended 9-of-21 from the floor.
03/30 00:52:36 ET