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Kansas overcomes Ohio State for wild Final Four win

Mar 31, 2012, 11:26 PM EDT

Final Four - Ohio State v Kansas Getty Images

Thanks to a fast start to the second half the Kansas Jayhawks find themselves one win away from a national title few thought they could win back in October.

Thomas Robinson scored 19 points and grabbed eight rebounds, but once again the play of Elijah Johnson was a key factor in a Kansas victory.

Johnson scored 13 points and grabbed ten rebounds to help lead the Jayhawks past No. 2 seed Ohio State 64-62 in the second semifinal in New Orleans.

Ohio State led by as many as 13 points in the first half, but foul trouble for Deshaun Thomas led to offensive struggles for the East Region champions.

The reward for the Jayhawks is a match-up with top overall seed Kentucky on Monday night.

“Well, it’s kind of a tale of two halves, two games,” said Kansas head coach Bill Self. “The light came on and then we were much more aggressive the second half.

“They missed some shots, we controlled the glass, were able to play through our bigs, get out and run.  The biggest thing is we got stops and rebounded.”

Johnson wasn’t the only “unsung” hero for Kansas however, as Travis Releford also made some key plays during the second half.

Releford finished with 15 points, making 5 of 7 shots from the field, and grabbing six rebounds.

William Buford led Ohio State with 19 points and seven rebounds but Jared Sullinger struggled with the length of 7-footer Jeff Withey (seven blocked shots), shooting 5 of 19 from the field and scoring 13 points.

“My teammates definitely look at me and see me as a protector.  They know if they get beat, I’m there,” said Withey. “I’m there to help them block shots.  When I blocked Jared, I was standing straight up.  I guess my length bothered him.”

The Buckeyes did themselves in with poor shot selection, with 23 of their 59 field goals being attempted beyond the arc (making eight).

Down two in the final seconds, Ohio State guard Aaron Craft attempted to rebound his own intentional miss but was called for a lane violation.

According to the NCAA rule book a shooter cannot cross the vertical plane of the foul line before the ball hits the rim. Therefore the correct call was made. A quick in-bounds pass later it was Kansas advancing to the title game.

As a team the Buckeyes shot 33.3 percent inside of the arc, compared to Kansas making 48.9 percent of its 2-point shots. The win sets up a rematch of the November 15 meeting in New York, which Kentucky won 75-65.

The Wildcats shot 64 percent from the field in the second half of that contest, winning despite turning the ball over 19 times.

But the Johnson, Releford and Withey they’ll encounter on Monday are much different from the players Kentucky saw on that night.

Raphielle is also the assistant editor at and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

  1. jbaxt - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:06 AM

    Too bad OSU got hosed on the intentional missed free throw. His foot didn’t touch the lane until after the ball hit the rim.

    • imwhitewolf - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:57 AM


      According to the NCAA rule book a shooter cannot cross the vertical plane of the foul line before the ball hits the rim.

      He definitely broke the vertical plane BEFORE the ball hit the rim. In the future it would behoove you to know the rules before making a post that makes you look like a dufus.

    • rock90210 - Apr 1, 2012 at 3:47 AM

      He didn’t get the rebound for a shot anyway – no matter what the call was the game was over. Get over it. Kansas had at least two bad calls put on them in the last two minutes. OSU choked.

  2. smartbutlazy - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:22 AM

    Shut up jbaxt. Too bad Withey got hosed for “traveling” when he didn’t even have possession of the ball. Go snivel privately.

    • rock90210 - Apr 1, 2012 at 3:49 AM

      Agreed. That was a bad call on Withey – can’t believe a ref called that bs.

  3. kcbaby58 - Apr 1, 2012 at 12:27 AM

    He missed the put back anyways! KU knows how to finish.

  4. waynefontes - Apr 1, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    Ohio State should look on the bright side. At least they won’t lose another championship game to a team from the SEC.

  5. askabutcher - Apr 1, 2012 at 6:45 AM

    KU won’t make it past KY if they have as many turnovers as they did against OS

  6. jbaxt - Apr 1, 2012 at 5:09 PM

    Shooters hands, arms, shoulders, and sometimes entire upper bodies cross the vertical plane on every free throw. No big deal, UK will own your sorry whiney azzes. As far as your tall white guy, the dude skipped with the ball, it was an easy travel call. I’m sure you ever so often tears blurred your vision.

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