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Monday, March 27, 2023

Arkansas ousts defending champ Kansas from March Madness

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Kansas’ nationwide title protection ended within the second spherical of NCAA Event on Saturday when Arkansas’ Ricky Council IV made 5 free throws within the closing seconds and the eighth-seeded Razorbacks beat the No. 1 seed Jayhawks 72-71.

Davonte Davis scored 25 factors and Council added 21 as Arkansas rallied from a 12-point second-half deficit. Kansas, enjoying with out ailing coach Invoice Self, turned the second prime seed to not escape the event’s first weekend after Purdue misplaced on Friday night time to No. 16 seed Fairleigh Dickinson.

Arkansas (22-13) and coach Eric Musselman return to the Candy 16 for the third straight yr. The Razorbacks will play both Saint Mary’s or UConn within the West Area semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday.

Musselman and his gamers rushed to a bunch of followers sitting courtside after the ultimate buzzer. The 58-year-old coach ripped his polo shirt off, waved it over his head and shouted with pleasure.

Self has been with the Jayhawks (28-8) since they arrived in Des Moines and has attended practices and conferences, however he nonetheless would not really feel nicely sufficient to teach a sport after having a coronary heart process March 8 to clear clogged arteries.

Longtime assistant Norm Roberts was appearing coach for a fifth straight sport in Self’s absence.

Kansas, bidding to change into the primary repeat nationwide champion since Florida in 2006-07, was forward 35-27 at halftime and misplaced for the primary time in 27 video games when getting into the second half with a lead. Kansas had been 47-0 within the NCAA Event when main by eight factors or extra on the half.

Davis scored 21 of his factors within the second half. He fouled out with 1:56 left, turning issues over to the veteran Council, a switch from Wichita State who scored 9 of the Razorbacks’ last 11 factors.

Council’s free throw put Arkansas forward to remain, 68-67, with 24 seconds left. He then rebounded his personal miss of the second free throw and made two extra to offer the Razorbacks a three-point lead.

The groups traded free throws, and Arkansas despatched Kansas’ Jalen Wilson to the road with 3 seconds left to forestall a possible tying 3-pointer. Wilson made the primary free throw and appeared to attempt to miss the second deliberately, nevertheless it banked onerous off the glass and in, and Kansas by no means regained possession.

Wilson led the Jayhawks with 20 factors.

Arkansas was enjoying a No. 1 seed for the third straight yr. Final yr, the Razorbacks knocked out Gonzaga on the way in which to their second straight Elite Eight.

Arkansas, which beat Illinois within the first spherical, was thought of a scary matchup for the Jayhawks with its explosive transition sport and skill to play lockdown protection.

However circumstances had been lower than best for the Razorbacks. Guard Anthony Black tweaked a nagging ankle damage early and went to the bench to get re-taped and alter sneakers, and fellow guard and projected excessive NBA first-round draft decide Nick Smith Jr. picked up two fast fouls and was restricted to 10 minutes and no factors within the first half. Additionally, huge man Kamani Johnson was unwell and performed with a sore toe.

The Razorbacks had been too desperate to shoot 3-pointers early. They missed 8 of 9 within the first half and could not get their operating sport going.

Kansas appeared in full management early. The Jayhawks acquired their followers out of their seats with a collection of electrical performs that included Gradey Dick’s fast-break dunk off Dajuan Harris’ steal, Wilson’s contested inside basket on an and-one and his primal scream directed at Arkansas followers, and Joseph Yesufu’s high-arcing 3 from the emblem to beat the shot clock.

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