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Pettiford put-back saves No. 3 Kansas in 69-68 OT win over Wisconsin

Kansas runner-up Bobby Pettiford’s wild put-back of a deep 3-point miss with 0.2 seconds remaining in extra time helped No. 3 Kansas climate a scare from Wisconsin, 69-68 in the semifinals of the Battle 4 Atlantis match on Thursday.

While the game-winning rebound and bullet shot induced a celebration with Kansas followers chanting his identify, neither Pettiford nor Kansas coach Bill Self left the gymnasium considering the shot could possibly be repeated.

“If he thinks about it, he can’t do it,” Self stated. “It came naturally and luckily he made it. It was an athletic game. … I don’t know if he would do it again in 10 tries but it was good that he did it. It was a great shot.”

Pettiford’s shot got here from a uncommon tumble to the glass by the 6ft-1 guard, who’s extra used to going again on protection when photographs go up.

In this occasion, with Kansas dropping a degree in the closing seconds, there was no motive to fret concerning the protection after Zach Clemence let his 26-foot 3-point try fly after KU junior Jalen Wilson’s drive was lower off to the sting by the Wisconsin defenses.

“As soon as he shot I just ran at full speed, the ball fell into my hands so I just flicked up a bit and it went in,” stated a smiling Pettiford after the win. “A bit of luck and skill at the same time.”

The ending was in full distinction to the best way this sport was performed persistently. Both groups fought their means out of objective offensively, however Kansas took management halfway by way of the primary half when Gradey Dick hit a pair of 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions.

This set off a 27-14 run from Kansas to finish the ultimate 11 minutes of the primary half and KU went into the dressing room 33-20.

Despite the Jayhawks main 33-15 in the 45-minute sport, Wisconsin by no means went out.

Kansas led by 15 (41-26) halfway by way of the second half, however noticed that lead disappear completely as Wisconsin took a 52-50 lead. KU responded to this deficit with a 10-0 run, but additionally noticed this cushion evaporate.

“They totally outplayed us,” Self stated of the ultimate minutes of regulation and extra time.

While Wisconsin’s fashion dictated how the sport was performed at vital moments, Kansas contributed to their very own distress.

The Jayhawks turned it over 13 occasions Thursday — in comparison with Wisconsin’s six — and in addition made simply 12 of 21 photographs on the free-throw line for 57.1%.

However, there have been additionally parts that went KU’s means. Wisconsin got here into play after giving up simply 9 3-pointers to their opponents in 4 video games all season, and the Jayhawks hit 9 in that sport alone.

Dick and McCullar made three every and Wilson hit a pair. None had been greater than McCullar’s bomb from the highest of the important thing, forcing extra time.

After Wisconsin took a 3 lead after a late bucket from Tyler Wahl and two free throws from Connor Essegian, KU’s Zach Clemence missed on a probably game-changing 3-pointer from the nook with 16 seconds left. However, Clemence chased his miss and fired a move at McCullar on the prime of the important thing whereas he was out of bounds. McCullar did the remainder, confidently stepping in the shot and knocking him out.

That was a welcome sight for a Jayhawk who opened the sport 0-of-5 from the ground and 0-of-4 from 3-point vary. McCullar completed with 18 factors and 9 rebounds and made seven of his subsequent 11 photographs from a chilly begin.

“I tried to keep playing,” McCullar stated of his method after the rocky begin early on. “My teammates kept encouraging me and I finally got one late when we needed it.”

Almost all the pieces that occurred late began with Wilson scoring 29 factors on 9-of-20 capturing and grabbing 14 rebounds in one other excellent particular person efficiency by KU’s main scorer.

However, Wisconsin knew this could be KU’s plan and started sending a number of corpses to Wilson to cease him from hitting her. Wilson stayed balanced in these moments, doing what he might to get to the free throw line or discover alternatives for others.

The late probability from Pettiford, who hadn’t scored all afternoon, wasn’t the direct results of a sport by Wilson. But his presence and willingness to place the sport on his shoulders makes it simpler for others.

Wilson, Pettiford, McCullar and their teammates do not care who will get the honors so long as the outcome goes to Kansas.

“Just finding a way to win,” Wilson stated late concerning the mindset. “No matter what happens or how well or badly we play, we just have to find a way to win and we did.”

He provides: “We weren’t the very best crew as we speak. However, we made some strikes that allowed us to win and I’m delighted with the win and I’m joyful that we’ll get an opportunity to play in the league sport tomorrow.

“We didn’t think it was going to be a nice game and from my point of view it lived up to its bill.”

Kansas will tackle No. 22 Tennessee in Friday’s championship sport, scheduled for six:30 p.m. on ESPN. Coached by former Texas coach Rick Barnes, the Volunteers defeated USC 73-66 in Thursday’s different semifinal sport.

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