Trey Burke dribbled up the right wing, looking for an opening, while two teammates set high screens somewhere in the no-man’s land between midcourt and the three-point line. Michigan was trailing Kansas, much like it did all evening in Texas, 76-73. With less than 10 seconds on the clock, Burke made his move.
See, for a national player of the year finalist like Burke, no-man’s land is actually quite fertile territory. His game-tying three-pointer came from deep. Real deep.
See Burke, roughly three bodies away from the actual three-point line? No matter. Burke’s shot rattled home, giving this NCAA tournament its signature heart-pounder and its first overtime game. Behind 23 points from Burke, all of them scored in the second half and overtime, the fourth-seeded Wolverines knocked off No. 1 Kansas, 87-85.
The Jayhawks had possession and were gifted a free timeout while the referees reviewed a shot-clock violation. Elijah Johnson, he of Mitch McGary low-blow fame, circled outside and found an opening along the baseline. By all accounts, it was a clear layup that would have tied the game.
Instead, Johnson passed out to the three-point line. Naadir Thorpe’s off-balance heaved smacked off the backboard and rim.
McGary, who set the screen on Johnson that freed Burke — of course he did — finished with a game-high 25 points (12 of 17), 14 rebounds and three steals. Through three NCAA tournament games, the freshman is averaging 19.7 points and 12.3 rebounds.
The loss spoiled an otherwise solid performance from Kansas guard Ben McLemore, a projected NBA lottery pick, who shook off a recent slump with a team-high 20 points. He did not attempt a shot in the five-minute overtime.
Michigan will face whichever team emerges from the Sunshine State battle in Friday’s nightcap — Florida Gulf Coast or Florida — in Sunday’s Elite Eight.
(h/t @arashmarkazi for the second screengrab)
UPDATE: Some postgame quotes are trickling in from the Kansas side, mostly to explain what happened on that final possession.
Bill Self said he thought Elijah Johnson “could get to the rim” in final seconds of overtime. Poor execution on final possession, Self said.
— Eric Prisbell (@EricPrisbell) March 30, 2013
KU’s Elijah Johnson: “I definitely felt we beat ourselves.”
— Dan Wetzel (@DanWetzel) March 30, 2013
The Detroit Free-Press works real fast. Here’s a preview of their first-edition sports headline: TREY-MENDOUS.
MUCH MORE NCAA TOURNAMENT COVERAGE
Photos: Scenes from the tournament