Kansas pulls away from UNC

Tay­lor, Robin­son spark of­fense

The Washington Times Daily - - Weather - BY NANCY AR­MOUR

ST. LOUIS | Noth­ing per­sonal, Roy.

Tyshawn Tay­lor broke out of his slump in a big way Sun­day, scor­ing 22 points and lead­ing Kansas back to the Final Four with an 80-67 vic­tory over for­mer coach Roy Wil­liams and top-seeded North Carolina.

The sec­ond- seeded Jay­hawks (31-6) will play Ohio State on Satur­day in their first ap­pear­ance in the Final Four since 2008, when they won the na­tional cham­pi­onship. And how’s this for sym­me­try? Kansas be­gan this year’s tour­na­ment in Omaha, Neb., same place as four years ago.

As the game ended, Tay­lor —much ma­ligned for his shoot­ing strug­gles dur­ing the first three games of the NCAA tour-

na­ment — ran to Kansas fans and raised both arms in the air.

“There’s no way to put into words the way we feel,” Wil­liams said. “There’s no way to put into words the way I feel. . . . It’s the NCAA tour­na­ment. One team wins and one team loses, and that’s what we have to un­der­stand.”

Tay­lor led five Jay­hawks in dou­ble fig­ures. Player of the year can­di­date Thomas Robin­son added 18 points and nine re­bounds, and Eli­jah John­son kept up his blis­ter­ing pace in the tour­na­ment with 10 points, in­clud­ing a 3-pointer with 3:07 to play that sparked Kansas’ 12-0 run to end the game. Jeff Withey made two mon­ster blocks to deny the Tar Heels dur­ing the run — in­clud­ing one that set up a big three-point play by Tay­lor.

Tay­lor came up with the re­bound af­ter Withey swat­ted away a shot by John Hen­son and streaked down­court for a layup, be­ing fouled by Stil­man White in the process. As the Kansas-heavy crowd roared, Tay­lor butted his head into Robin­son’s chest. He made the free throw to give Kansas a 74-67 lead with 1:59 left, and the Jay­hawks cruised from there.

James Michael Mca­doo scored 15 for the Tar Heels (32-6), who played bet­ter in their sec­ond game with­out in­jured star point guard Ken­dall Mar­shall. But North Carolina couldn’t over­come a 5:46 field goal drought to end the game.

“It was a game of runs,” Wil­liams said. “And we didn’t an­swer the last one.”

This was only the sec­ond time Wil­liams had faced Kansas since leav­ing the school where he spent his first 15 years as a head coach, tak­ing the Jay­hawks to the NCAA ti­tle game twice — they lost in 1991 and 2003 — and two other Final Fours. Though Kansas fans have soft­ened some, Wil­liams said Satur­day that fac­ing his old team al­ways will be un­pleas­ant.

“Too emo­tional for me. That’s the bot­tom line,” Wil­liams said, call­ing Kansas his “sec­ond­fa­vorite” team. “I don’t think it’ll ever feel good for me, re­gard­less of the out­come. I don’t think I’ll ever feel com­fort­able with it.”

At least this one went bet­ter than the first meet­ing, at the 2008 Final Four, where the Jay­hawks wal­loped North Carolina on the way to win­ning the ti­tle Wil­liams never could at Kansas.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Kansas play­ers ex­ult dur­ing the sec­ond half of their re­gional final against North Carolina on Satur­day. The Jay­hawks fin­ished their 80-67 win with a 12-0 run.

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