Indiana Daily Student

Kansas dominates North Carolina in Final Four blowout

North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough reacts during the second half against Kansas during the Final Four semifinals Saturday in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough reacts during the second half against Kansas during the Final Four semifinals Saturday in San Antonio. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

Roy Williams taught Kansas all about how to handle cruel, crushing disappointments.\nThis time, the Jayhawks got their chance to make Williams feel the pain.\nKansas left its old coach in the dust Saturday night, getting 25 points and seven rebounds from Brandon Rush to stave off a ferocious comeback by North Carolina for an 84-66 victory in the national semifinals.\nTrailing 40-12 late in the first half, Tyler Hansbrough, Wayne Ellington and the Tar Heels made a valiant rally, getting to within four points with 10 minutes left.\nBut they ran out of steam in their effort to pull off the biggest Final Four comeback ever.\n“We sort of came out a little more casual than we would’ve liked and they hit us right between the eyes,” Williams said.\nNow, the Jayhawks will play Memphis in Monday’s title game.\nKansas moved within a win of its first national championship since 1988, the year before Williams began his storied 15-year tenure in Lawrence – one that ended when he jilted Kansas for his alma mater.\n“I hope it’s set aside and goes away forever,” Williams said of the animosity that has lingered since he left in 2003. “I’m too thin-skinned, probably. ... Let’s don’t focus on that. Focus on the great job done by Kansas.”\nHansbrough had 17 points and nine rebounds for North Carolina (36-3) – a typically gutsy effort – but his next move will be to decide whether to come back for his senior season.\nKansas has more pressing things to deal with – stopping fast-breaking Memphis and its sensational freshman Derrick Rose.\n“We know we’ve got another step to take Monday night,” Sherron Collins said. “It’s going to be a great matchup. They play fast, we play fast.”\nCollins had two assists, a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws during the decisive stretch that saw the Jayhawks (36-3) pad that four-point lead back to 15 and send the Tar Heels into true desperation mode.\nWilliams stood stoically as the clock ticked down, arms folded, nothing much left to do. Tears usually come pretty quickly after the final buzzer of the season for him, and this season ended one game short of where many thought it might.\n“We’ve had a good year, but I don’t think anybody’s goal here was to be one of the top four teams in the country,” Hansbrough said. “It’s to be the top team. I’m frustrated with that.”\nWilliams got out-coached in this one, especially at the beginning, finding no solution for Kansas’ strategy of dumping the ball inside to Darrell Arthur, Darnell Jackson and Cole Aldrich.\nThe Jayhawks also smothered Hansbrough, even flooring him once on a hard foul \nby Mario Chalmers.\n“To start the game, I felt, instead of having 10 hands out there it felt like we had 14 or 16,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Guys were making a move, a reverse pivot, and there were two hands there waiting for them.”\nDespite North Carolina’s impressive \ncomeback, the final stats painted a picture of Kansas domination. The Jayhawks shot 53 percent from the floor and held the nation’s second-leading offense to 35 percent. They had nine more rebounds, 10 more assists, six more blocks.\n“I’ve never been so embarrassed in my life,” Tar Heel guard Marcus Ginyard said.\nThe basket looked as big as the Alamo for the Jayhawks, who made 12 of their first 16 shots and went on an 18-0 run for a 33-10 lead with 9:31 left.\nMeanwhile, the Tar Heels went a stunning 9:03 without a basket. No team has overcome a deficit bigger than 22 at the Final Four.\nBut Carolina turned this into controlled chaos over the first 10 minutes of the second half, altering Kansas shots and making pretty much everything they threw up – including a 3-pointer by Ellington (18 points) with 9:20 left that made it 58-53 and had the Tar Heel fans in a frenzy.\nThroughout the rally, Self called time-out after time-out and eventually, North Carolina cooled and Kansas ran away.\nAll that might have helped prove Williams’ theory, as he tried to deflect all the talk of himself this week: That the game would be decided by the players.\nThe Jayhawks were simply better.\n“I told my team that I hoped that distraction didn’t bother them, because that would be about as bad as anything you could ever have as a coach,” Williams said.

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