The Buckeyes built an early 13-point lead on the strength of the shooting of William Buford, who came out of a 13-for-44 tournament slump to lead the Buckeyes with 19 points on 6 for 10 from the floor. Kansas trailed 34-25 at the half and only a steal and layup before the buzzer prevented the Jayhawks from a season-low.
Things changed when Ohio State came out and promptly missed its first 10 shots from the field, while Deshaun Thomas — the Ohio State big man in charge of shutting down Robinson — headed to the bench with his third foul.
That opened things up for KU: A couple easy layups for Robinson and a kick-out to Elijah Johnson for a 3-pointer were part of a 13-4 run to open the half. It tied the game at 38 and set up for a nip-and-tuck finish between these No. 2 seeds, each of which were in the hunt for top seeding all the way up to Selection Sunday.
Releford finished with 15 points and six rebounds for the Jayhawks. Johnson had 13 points and 10 boards. Taylor finished with 10 points and nine assists — not bad considering the time Craft spent glued to him much of the night.
Craft said he thought a quick brick and a rebound on the final free throw was his best chance to save the game. There wasn't much of an argument after he got called for the lane violation, however.
"There is no explanation," Craft said. "Apparently I crossed before it hit the rim. I just knew I had to miss it. I thought that would be the best way for us to get the ball back."
That end-game was set up when Releford made two free throws with 1:37 left to put KU ahead 60-59. Buford tried to take the ball to the basket on the next possession, but Withey swatted it away. Johnson followed with a layup — hardly as dramatic as his game-winner against Purdue, but enough for a three-point lead, which seemed like a million for the Jayhawks in this one.
Not that the Jayhawks need a big lead — or any lead.
"I think we're trying to make it fun for y'all," Robinson said. "Seriously, I wish it would stop. I mean, I'd feel better at the end."
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