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Kansas comes back, beats Ohio State to reach title game - USA TODAY

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Kansas comes back, beats Ohio State to reach title game - USA TODAY
Apr 1st 2012, 03:43

By Jack Carey, USA TODAY

Updated

NEW ORLEANS – Trailing by 13 points late in the first half, Kansas put on a spirited rally Saturday night and moved into the national championship game with a 64-62 victory against Ohio State.

  • Kansas guard Elijah Johnson shoots during the Jayhawks' national semifinal game against Ohio State on Saturday.

    By Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY

    Kansas guard Elijah Johnson shoots during the Jayhawks' national semifinal game against Ohio State on Saturday.

By Robert Deutsch, USA TODAY

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson shoots during the Jayhawks' national semifinal game against Ohio State on Saturday.

The riveting back-and-forth battle put the Jayhawks (32-6) into Monday's final against No. 1 Kentucky, which beat Louisville 69-61 in the other semifinal. The Wildcats beat the Jayhawks 75-65 in a meeting in New York on Nov. 15.

Elijah Johnson's layup with 1:10 remaining put the Jayhawks ahead 62-59, but after a steal by KU's Thomas Robinson, Jeff Withey was called for traveling on a layup that would have put KU ahead by five.

OSU then drew within one on a follow-up dunk by William Buford with 9.6 seconds left.

KU's Tyshawn Taylor made two free throws with 8.3 seconds left for a three-point lead, but then after stealing a pass in the backcourt, threw the ball away with 3.6 seconds to go.

OSU's Aaron Craft was fouled with 2.9 seconds to go, preventing the Bucks from getting off a tying three-pointer. But after making the first free throw, he intentionally missed the second but was called for a lane violation when going after the offensive rebound. KU inbounded and ran out the clock.

All-American Robinson had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Jayhawks (32-6) and Travis Releford scored 15. William Buford led OSU (31-8) with 19, and All-American Jared Sulinger had 13 points and 11 boards.

After trailing by 13 points late in the first half and by nine at halftime, Kansas opened the second half by scoring 13 of the first 17 points and tied the score at 38 on a drive by Johnson with 14:06 remaining. OSU's high-scoring forward Thomas had gone to the bench with his third personal foul at the 17:36 mark.

OSU gained a 43-38 lead on a three-pointer by Craft and a tip-in by Sullinger. But then with the Buckeyes ahead 43-40, Thomas, who had scored 89 points in Ohio State's first four tournament games, committed his fourth foul and went to the bench again.

Three-pointers by Lenzelle Smith Jr. and William Buford put OSU ahead 49-43, but KU again rallied as Conner Teahan hit a three and Releford chased down a loose ball in the corner and went in for a layup to bring the Jayhawks within one.

Teahan came in the game when Johnson went to the bench with four personals.

With OSU up 49-48, Sullinger scored inside and then made two foul shots sandwiched around a dunk by Buford as OSU went ahead 55-49.

But Robinson then scored on a hook, and Johnson returned and drove in for a score to bring KU within two. Robinson made one free throw with 3:51 to play, and when Releford was fouled by Sullinger with 2:48 to go he made both free thrown to put KU ahead 56-55.

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