Kansas did its best to give the game away in the first half and Ohio State succeeded in doing so in the second half, giving Kansas a 64-62 win and a date with Kentucky in Monday’s NCAA championship game.
Kansas shot just 36.7% in the first half and was extremely lucky to only trail by nine at the break, but OSU’s offence vanished from there.
Jayhawks centre Jeff Withey dominated the Buckeyes and star big man Jared Sullinger Withey blocked seven shots (to go along with eight rebounds), turning Sullinger back three times in one game-changing 35 second sequence.
OSU shot a dismal 24.2% (8-for-33) in the second half.
Kansas rallied from 13-point holes five separate times in the opening 20 minutes.
Player of the year runner-up Thomas Robinson started 1-for-6 from the field, Tyshawn Taylor 2-for-7. But Robinson lived up to his hype, going 7-for-12 from there in a 19-point, eight-rebound effort.
Elsewhere, Sullinger, who could have left for the NBA and likely been a top seven pick a year ago, now might be regretting his decision to stick around.
Though he had 13 points and 11 rebounds and blocked Robinson on a couple of occasions, Withey gave him fits and he shot just 5-for-19, constantly being pushed out of his comfort zone.
Monday’s game will be a chance for Kentucky’s John Calipari to get revenge on Kansas’ Bill Self, who beat his Memphis squad in the title game back in 2008.
OSU was called for a lane violation in the dying seconds, capping a bizarre ending to an odd game.