Duke falls short of Final Four in OT loss to Kansas

Silvio De Sousa celebrates with Kansas teammate Devonte Graham during an 80-76 victory Friday night against Clemson in Omaha Nebraska. The top-seeded Jayhawks will play Sunday for a spot in the Final Four

It was basketball fans, all of us. He had just missed two open three-point shots as things had begun to creak with a hint of familiarity for the Jayhawks.

Who could have seen any of this coming? In a game of preposterous evenness, Kansas shooting 30 for 69, and Duke 30 for 70, Trevon Duval led Duke with 20 points on 9-for-16 shooting, and Gary Trent Jr. had followed with 17.

Bagley, who won ACC Player and Rookie of the Year, scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds.

"I thought his defense was unbelievable", Self said. "It was very hard to get him the ball". "It just feels (perfect)".

He drove the basket, spun on the defender guarding him and went up for the mid-range shot, but it rolled out right at the buzzer.

And most of all: Miraculous Malik.

And while Newman is going to get the plaudits - and rightfully so - an argument can be made that it was Svi that was the most important player for the Jayhawks on Sunday. Graham is the All-American and the potential player of the year in college basketball. He can be, in the parlance of our times, a chucker.

That's exactly what happened Sunday thanks to Kansas' newest March hero. Although Carter was in foul trouble, it's inconceivable how Kansas got 7 more offensive rebounds than Duke. And calmly making 11 of his 12 free throws, including the ones that sealed the game.

"Grayson was a big part of us getting this far", Bagley said. "Going to the Riverwalk in San Antonio was the plan all along".

"I'm just glad that I was able to contribute in a good way to help these guys", Newman said. It's one and done this time of the year.

The feeling, I'm sure, is mutual.

"I think both teams were deserving of winning, and that's why it came down to a possession right at the end of the game and went into overtime", Krzyzewski said.

"We didn't even know who was going to finish the season on our roster a couple of months ago", Self said. The Jayhawks' top recruit, Billy Preston, was held out for an investigation regarding his eligibility early in the season.

Yet as Duke's offense played the final two minutes of its season, it met with a Kansas will furious enough to appear nearly visible. Then Self tinkered with four-guard lineups and created one of the nation's most efficient offenses.

Newman has made 27 shots - nine more than Graham and Mykhailuk and seven more than Vick. But the Jayhawks banded together to win the Big 12's regular season and conference titles and now the Midwest Region.

The lone Blue Devil senior also took the last two missed shots for his team in OT trying to narrow a five-point gap: neither went in from behind the arc with 24 and 19 seconds remaining.

"The way we outrebounded Duke is strictly by committee and scrap", Kansas head coach Bill Self said. After the five minutes of overtime play, KU came out ahead 85-81.

26 seconds left in regulation, and because Duke's attempt at a reply, Grayson Allen's drive and pull-up to the left, had rolled around and around and onto the backboard and back to the rim and off. "No one wants to end with a loss like that". The veteran started alongside a group he explained had to overcome "good egos about their games", learning to use the confidence in abilities together rather than try to compete with one another.

And you think about it, hey, in their careers all we've been is the number one overall seed, the number two overall seed and the number three overall seed and haven't gotten to a Final Four.

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