Ohio State led for the vast majority of the game, but not when it counted. Not at the end.
The Buckeyes scored only three points in the last 2:22 tonight, and it cost them a shot at a national championship as Kansas rallied to win 64-62 in an NCAA semifinal game in the Superdome.
Trailing by three points with 8.3 seconds to play, Kansas' Tyshaun Taylor stole the inbounds pass from Lenzelle Smith Jr. but in turn threw the ball out of bounds, giving the Buckeyes a final chance with 3.8 seconds left.
Kansas fouled Aaron Craft with 2.9 seconds left, and he made one free throw before the second was disallowed by a lane violation and the clock ran out on the Buckeyes' season.
Thomas Robinson scored 19 points to lead four double-figure scorers for Kansas (32-6), which will play top-ranked Kentucky (37-2) for the national championship Monday night. The Wildcats turned back Louisville 69-61 in the first semifinal tonight.
"Whoever wins the Kansas-Ohio State game has to play a hell of a game to beat them," Louisville coach Rick Pitino said.
William Buford scored 19 points in his final game to lead Ohio State (31-8). The Buckeyes shot only 24.2 percent in the second half to Kansas' 53.8.
Kansas took its first lead since 2-0 when Travis Releford's two free throws put the Jayhawks ahead 56-55 with 2:48 to play. Ohio State scored the next four points to regain the lead, 59-56, with 2:23 remaining. But Kansas scored the next six, including another pair of go-ahead free throws by Releford with 1:37 to play.
Elijah Johnson's layup with 1:13, after a tremendous block at the other end by Jeff Withey on a drive by Buford, extended the Jayhawks' lead to 62-59.
Ohio State failed to score on five straight possessions before Buford's rebound dunk with 10 seconds left cut Kansas' lead to 62-61.
But the Buckeyes were forced to foul on the inbounds play, and Taylor's two free throws gave Kansas a 64-61 lead with 8.3 seconds to play.
Kansas scored the last four points of the first half to get its deficit under 10 points at halftime and carried the momentum to start the second half.
The Jayhawks outscored Ohio State 13-4 in the first six minutes of the half to tie the score at 38 before the Buckeyes steadied themselves. They had only four free throws by Buford until a three-pointer by Craft in transition gave them their first field goal of the half and regained the lead at 41-38 with 13:07 to play.
Despite playing without Deshaun Thomas because of foul trouble, the Buckeyes mixed and matched inside and stretched their lead to six points three times in the next eight minutes. But Kansas responded each time.
After a pair of free throws by Jared Sullinger gave Ohio State a 55-49 lead with 5:22 left, Kansas scored the next seven points to take its first lead since 2-0.
Ohio State's defense was as good as advertised in helping the Buckeyes build a 34-25 lead at halftime.
Stay with 10TV News and 10TV.com for continuing Ohio State men's basketball coverage.