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KU's brief lead is long enough

OMAHA, Neb. — Bill Self leaped to his feet on the Kansas sideline, the typically restrained coach finally unloading with a moment of sheer exuberance.

After trailing almost the entire way against Purdue, his Jayhawks are moving on.

Elijah Johnson scored 18, including the go-ahead basket in the final minute, and No. 2 seed Kansas rallied to beat Robbie Hummel and the No. 10 seed Boilermakers 63-60 on Sunday night.

Thomas Robinson fought through double-teams all night for 11 points and 13 rebounds, and the Jayhawks (29-6) got enough production from everyone else to erase a 10-point second-half deficit and reach the region semifinals in St. Louis.

Purdue was clinging to a 60-59 lead and had the ball with less than a minute left when Lewis Jackson, the shot clock winding down, lost control at the top of the key. Johnson picked it up and went the other way for the go-ahead lay-in with 23.3 seconds left.

Hummel missed an open 3-pointer and Tyshawn Taylor scored a transition dunk for the Jayhawks with 2.5 seconds left, giving the roughly 15,000 fans who had made the three-hour drive from the Kansas campus reason to let out a roar for one of the first times all night.

After a timeout, Purdue sharpshooter Ryne Smith managed to get a decent look at a long, potential tying 3-pointer. It hit off the backboard, clanked off the rim and fell away.

Hummel finished with 26 points and nine rebounds for the Boilermakers (22-13), who were trying to reach the Sweet 16 for the third time in four years.

The Jayhawks' biggest lead was their final one. They overcame Robinson's rough night by getting 10 points each from Taylor and Travis Releford.

N.C. STATE 66, G'TOWN 63: Lorenzo Brown hit three free throws in the final 10.6 seconds, and the Wolfpack held on in Columbus, Ohio, to reach its first Sweet 16 since 2005.

"When I went to Alabama as the head coach at the age of 33, John Wooden told me one time, he said, 'Coach, don't give them too much too fast. They might start expecting that every year,' " first-year North Carolina State coach Mark Gottfried said with a grin.

Then, with impeccable timing, he added: "Well, we failed in that category already."

The 11th-seeded Wolfpack (24-12) survived a furious comeback by the Hoyas (24-9) that ended when Jason Clark's hurried 3-point attempt from the right wing was off the mark at the buzzer.

UNC 87, CREIGHTON 73: John Henson proved he's healthy enough to help the Tar Heels' latest push for the Final Four.

The former Sickles High standout had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks in his return from a wrist injury, leading North Carolina in Greensboro, N.C.

However, UNC point guard Kendall Marshall broke his right wrist. For details, see notebook, on left.

North Carolina built a 15-point lead in the first half then pushed the margin to 19 after the break on the way to its second straight double-digit victory. The top-seeded Tar Heels (31-5) reached the Sweet 16 for a record 25th time.

The eight-seeded Bluejays (29-6) shot 41 percent.

.FAST FACTS

Double trouble

Georgetown joins Clemson (1997-2010) and Georgia Tech (1986-1989) as the third school to be eliminated by a double-digit seed in its past four appearances, including the last three straight seasons. Georgetown's four losses:

Yr. Opp. Seeds Score

'12 N.C. State 11 3 66-63

'11 VCU 11 6 74-56

'10 Ohio 14 3 97-83

'08 Davidson 10 2 74-70

ESPN, Elias Sports Bureau

KU's brief lead is long enough 03/18/12 [Last modified: Monday, March 19, 2012 12:58am]
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