In a game where his Michigan Wolverines trailed by 14 points, and with the keys in the ignition of the bus, Trey Burke hit the shot of the NCAA tournament so far.
Burke did what Mario Chalmers did to Memphis five years ago. The collapse was just as epic. The shot, if Michigan wins this thing, will be just as famous.
Michigan would go on to win in overtime, 87-85, because the team that hits that shot always goes on to win in overtime.
Burke scored eight of Michigan’s 10 points in the final 1:16 of regulation, and he would add five more in the first 1:37 of overtime. This became his night. In some ways, he made it that way. In others, Elijah Johnson made it that way.
The Kansas senior picked the wrong time to lose his head. He hit Mitch McGary with a cheap shot in the opening minutes and spent the rest of the game trying to make up for his mistake. Johnson’s two straight turnovers 20 seconds apart—a poorly timed drive, and then a 10-second violation—cut KU‘s lead from 10 to six with 1:55 left.
Then, Burke took over.
Burke capped off the comeback with the three so good it should be written about again and again and again.
Kansas, up three after Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one free throw, decided not to foul, and Bill Self may regret that. But no player in college basketball is supposed to be able to hit a step-back jumper from 30 feet.
No player, other than Trey Burke.
Burke opened overtime with the ultimate stomach punch, dribbling right into another three after Kansas had taken back the lead. He scored 13 points in the span of 2:53.
He ended the Player of the Year debate in that time. The award is his.
Johnson, meanwhile, kept trying to make up for his miscues by firing off forced jumpers. To his credit, his three with 47 seconds left gave Kansas hope.
The game would end with Johnson driving to the basket with a chance to tie it and, for some inconceivable reason, throwing a crazy throw-back pass to NaadirTharpe.
This was not Johnson’s night, but for nearly 37 minutes, it was KU‘s.
Jeff Withey dominated the defensive end like he’s done the last two NCAA tournaments. KU senior guard Travis Releford slowed Tim Hardaway Jr. (10 points on 4-of-11 shooting) and continued to be KU‘s most consistent offensive player, scoring 16 points. Ben McLemore rediscovered his stroke and scored 20 points, even banking in a three at one point.
The Michigan bus was just about ready to head to the airport, Burke to the NBA and the talk in Ann Arbor shifting to next year with Mitch McGary (25 points on 12-of-17 shooting) as reason to be excited.
Only Burke wasn’t having it.
Burke would end up with 23 points, 10 assists and the shot of a lifetime.