|#1||UNC (33-3) ||82|
|#1||Kansas (33-3) ||87|
San Antonio, TX - The number one overall seed fell as a very balanced and deep Kansas (33-3) team forced turnovers and overcame the struggles of two of its key starters as well as a double-double by National Player of the Year candidate Tyler Hansbrough to advance to the championship game with an 87-82 victory over North Carolina (33-3).
Jayhawk starters Mario Chalmers and Darrell Arthur stole the headlines during the game, but not necessarily for the right reasons. On the night, Chalmers and Arthur combined for 13 points, 38 minutes and ten fouls. The two future NBA players who were defending Tar Heels Wayne Ellington/Danny Green and Tyler Hansbrough respectively both fouled out of the game before the under-4 timeout. With two of its superstars in foul trouble and already relying on backups Russell Robinson and Sasha Kaun, Kansas was forced to lean on role players - yet former McDonald's High School All-Americans - Cole Aldrich and Rodrick Stewart.
Even with the issues with two of its best defensive players, Kansas watched North Carolina essentially defeat itself with turnovers and silly fouls. UNC actually ended the game with more fouls, 24, than Kansas, 20, to go with its 21 turnovers and just 14 assists. Sophomore point guard Ty Lawson and junior guard Danny Green looked like they were pressing the whole game. Lawson in particular was sometimes spectacular with 17 points, six assists and four steals and sometimes erratic with four turnovers and four fouls.
Senior center, and heart of the team, Darnell Jackson led five Jayhawks in double figures with 18 points on 6-8 shooting. Brandon Rush again had troubles from beyond the arc, going 1-6 from three-point range, but he still added 17 points. Kaun with 12, Arthur with 10 and Collins with 10 round out the top scorers for Kansas.
On the positive side for the Tar Heels, Tyler Hansbrough may have not had as many touches as he would have liked, but he still notched a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Unfortunately for Hansbrough, a junior who may soon declare for the NBA draft, he fouled out of the game with about ten seconds left and UNC down six. The usually fiery Psycho-T was seen bawling on the bench as the final seconds ticked off the clock. No one can really fault him though, as he truly gave it his all just as he did every game of his career.
The Big 12 champion Jayhawks keep rolling. Eleven straight victories, deep, NBA-caliber talent and the resiliency to overcome adversity as it showed in today's game, have Kansas looking the part of an eventual national champion.
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