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The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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The BattalionMay 4, 2024

Kansas holds off Davidson

The Kansas Jayhawks and Bill Self had to hold their breath until the buzzer blew but the Jayhawks managed to hold off the never say die Davidson Wildcats and tournament darling Stephen Curry. With the 59-57 win the Jayhawks will return to the final four for the first time since 2003. It will also be the first time in Tournament history that the final four comprised entirely of one seeds.
Against a larger, deeper Kansas team the upstart Wildcats finally faltered. Curry failed to record at least 30 points for the first time in his NCAA Tournament career. He had only 25.
“Fatigue was definitely a factor,” Curry said. “That four-guard rotation they had really took a toll.”
Even then Kansas could not break away from Davidson. It’s largest lead of the game was six points but the Wildcats came back time and time again. With a minute left, Davidson was down by six and scored four points in under ten seconds. After playing great defense the Wildcats got the ball back with a chance to tie with 21 seconds to go. Kansas stifled any heroics from Curry who was forced to kick the ball to Jason Richards. Richards three pointer bounced off the rim as tie expired to give the Jayhawks the win.
“Davidson is a good team. A lot better than they were seeded,” Kansas sophomore Sherron Collins said. “Curry was tough. He does a lot of moves and was tough to get to, but we got there.”
Though Kansas won the Midwest Regional championship, Curry was awarded the Midwest Regional MVP for his stellar play and leadership during Davidson’s run to be the Cinderella of the 2008 tournament.
“We made history for our school,” Curry said. “Not a lot of people expected a lot from us, so I’m proud of what we have accomplished, but it hurts a lot to have been this close to the Final Four.”
Sasha Kaun and Mario Chalmers both scored 13 points for Kansas and Kaun’s clutch shooting ensured that Davidson never got to far ahead of the Jayhawks. Kaun also hit the three pointer that put Kansas on top of Davidson for good. Chalmers also led the Jayhawks in steals and junior star Brandon Rush led in rebounds.
The win also gave Jayhawk coach Bill Self his first final four appearance and the ability to shake the label as “Best coach to never reach the final four”. Self has led three different teams to the Elite Eight but has never been able to get farther.
Kansas will play North Carolina, winner of the eastern regional, who is led by Roy Williams, the coach who took Kansas to its last final four in 2003.
“Everyone knows he used to coach for KU,” Collins said. “There will be a lot of emotion and a lot of heat for that game.”

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