Burke leads improbable Michigan comeback
ARLINGTON, Texas – Trey Burke scored all 23 of his points after halftime, including a long, tying 3-pointer in the final seconds of regulation, and Michigan rallied to beat Kansas 87-85 in the South Regional semifinals Friday night.
The fourth-seeded Wolverines wiped out a 10-point Kansas lead in the last three minutes of regulation, and Burke gave them their first lead since early in the game with another long 3 to open Michigan’s scoring in overtime.
Michigan (29-7) reached the regional finals for the first time since the Fab Five era 19 years ago, the last time they were in the round of 16.
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.
The Wolverines were down five when Tim Hardaway Jr. missed a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left, but Glenn Robinson III 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 came after Elijah Johnson missed a free throw moments after hitting two to keep the Kansas lead at five. Burke hit a layup to get Michigan within three.
The lead changed hands five times in overtime – the first OT game of the tournament – the last when Mitch McGary, who led Michigan with 25 points and 14 rebounds, hit a short jumper with Johnson in his face to put Michigan ahead for good 83-82.
The Jayhawks got a stop and had about 9 seconds to tie or win, but a jumbled possession ended with Naadir Tharpe missing a running jumper at the buzzer.
The Wolverines wiped out a 10-point Kansas lead on a 14-4 run in the final 2:52 of regulation. Burke had eight points, including two 3-pointers, in the stretch.
Burke gave Michigan its first lead since early in the game with his long 3-pointer to make it 79-78 early in overtime.
Burke was scoreless in the first half for the Wolverines, then got his team going by scoring eight straight points early in the second half to momentarily cut the deficit to two.
“In the second half, coach told me to be more aggressive so I looked for my shot more,” he said.
But Kansas restored a 10-point lead built on dominating inside in the first half, this time with a 3-pointer and a tomahawk dunk on a breakaway by McLemore and a three-point play from Johnson.
Johnson, who picked up three fouls in just three minutes of playing time in the first half, gave Kansas its biggest lead at 68-54 with a 3-pointer from the corner with just under 7 minutes left.
Travis Releford had 16 points for the Jayhawks, while Jeff Withey had 12 points and eight rebounds.
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 while shooting 69 percent.
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.
The game was stopped less than 2 minutes in so officials could go to video review to call a flagrant foul against Johnson for a hit below the waist on McGary.
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, beating Oregon 77-69.
Kevin Ware added 11 and Gorgui Dieng had 10 points and nine rebounds for Louisville, which has won 13 straight. Coach Rick Pitino improved to 11-0 in the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament.
“We dug ourselves a pretty big hole and weren’t able to come back,” Oregon coach Dana Altman said. “Louisville is a very good basketball team and very talented. Smith got going to the basket and we just never got him slowed down.”
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.
Louisville (32-5) moves on to play the winner of Michigan State-Duke on Sunday, hoping to advance to the Final Four for the second straight year.
E.J. Singler’s 15 points led five Ducks in double figures, and the Ducks had only 12 turnovers – one fewer than the Cardinals. But Oregon could never recover from its poor first half, when the Ducks were plagued by foul trouble – Johnathan Loyd had three before halftime – and an off night by Damyean Dotson. The freshman was huge in Oregon’s victory over Saint Louis, scoring a career-high 23. But he was 0 for 6 in the first half, and didn’t make a field goal until midway through the second. He finished with 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting.
The Cardinals were barely tested in either of their first two games, beating North Carolina A&T by 31 and Colorado State by 26. They set an NCAA record with 20 steals against A&T, outrebounded one of the country’s best rebounding teams in Colorado State and left both teams with ugly shooting lines.
But the Cardinals were tested many times Friday night.
Peyton Siva spent the last 15:19 of the first half on the bench after picking up his second foul. But even without their floor general, the Cardinals didn’t miss a beat thanks to Smith. He hit a 3 to spark a 14-3 run that put Louisville up 24-8, and the game seemed to be all but over.