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Kansas Defeats Miami, Advances to Face Villanova in 2022 Men's Final Four

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVMarch 28, 2022

AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh

No. 1 Kansas is heading to the Final Four for the 16th time in school history after a 76-50 win over No. 10 Miami.

Ochai Agbaji helped the Jayhawks cut down the nets at the United Center in Chicago after scoring 18 points with four steals in Sunday's Elite Eight game. 

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

KANSAS IS ON FIRE. <a href="https://t.co/Cyn8WZY9tW">pic.twitter.com/Cyn8WZY9tW</a>

Kansas appeared to be in trouble early while trailing 35-29 at halftime. It was a completely different story after intermission as the Jayhawks went on a 19-5 run in the first six minutes.

The Hurricanes never recovered, struggling offensively with just 15 second-half points. Kameron McGusty scored 18, but Miami shot a meager 34.5 percent from the field and 3-of-21 from three-point range. 

It led to a blowout as the Jayhawks dominated in the paint.

CBS Sports @CBSSports

"LIGHTFOOT PARACHUTING IN!"<a href="https://twitter.com/KUHoops?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KUHoops</a> cannot be stopped <a href="https://t.co/yshsjtoTpB">pic.twitter.com/yshsjtoTpB</a>

Kansas will now be the only No. 1 seed in the Final Four after cruising through the Midwest Region, looking to take home the program's first championship since 2008. South Region winner Villanova awaits in the national semifinals in New Orleans. 


Notable Performances

Ochai Agbaji, G, KAN: 18 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals

David McCormack, F, KAN: 15 points, 4 rebounds

Christian Braun, G, KAN: 12 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists

Kameron McGusty, G, MIA: 18 points, 4 rebounds

Isaiah Wong, G, MIA: 15 points, 3 assists


Dominant Second Half Helps Kansas Pull Away

Kansas couldn't get much going offensively in the first half, scoring just 29 points on 31 shots. The squad was 0-of-5 from three-point range and 3-of-9 from the free-throw line.

The biggest concern was the lack of production from All-American Ochai Agbaji:

Camron Smith @camronsmith

If Ochai Agbaji isn’t involved/aggressive offensively, Kansas is cooked. <br><br>Reggie Miller said it best that Agbaji has earned the right be take certain shots when he isn’t being prioritized. <br><br>6 points on 5 shots ain’t it. He’s better than that…

Seth Davis @SethDavisHoops

I truly cannot understand why Ochoa Agbaji has been so passive in this NCAA tournament. He’s got one more half to play like an All American or Kansas is going home.

Rob Dauster @RobDauster

Someone needs to remind Ochai Agbaji he’s an All-American.

Kansas found itself facing an early deficit as a result.

It was a different story in the second half as the Jayhawks pushed the tempo for easy baskets in transition.

CBS Sports @CBSSports

"When your center runs the floor like that, you've got to reward him."<a href="https://twitter.com/KUHoops?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KUHoops</a> 💪 <a href="https://t.co/wmjUP8joFD">pic.twitter.com/wmjUP8joFD</a>

Christian Braun finally ended the team's three-point drought as part of a key 10-0 run early in the second half.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Kansas ON FIRE to start the 2nd half 😳 <a href="https://t.co/hpIVPFTF41">pic.twitter.com/hpIVPFTF41</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

🗣Weight room<br><br>David McCormack with the tough finish. <a href="https://t.co/JMSJQ1BcyB">pic.twitter.com/JMSJQ1BcyB</a>

The run turned a two-point deficit into a 48-40 lead that helped the Jayhawks take control of the game.

ESPN Stats & Info @ESPNStatsInfo

What a start to the 2nd half for the Jayhawks.<br><br>Kansas had more transition points in the first 10 minutes (9) than Miami had total points (7). <a href="https://t.co/xoasnVZRD3">pic.twitter.com/xoasnVZRD3</a>

Ogbaji then got himself rolling with several big buckets to keep the momentum:

NCAA March Madness @MarchMadnessMBB

.<a href="https://twitter.com/youngoch?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@youngoch</a> with the up and under 👏<a href="https://twitter.com/KUHoops?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KUHoops</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarchMadness?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MarchMadness</a> <a href="https://t.co/Oadu5UZDrN">pic.twitter.com/Oadu5UZDrN</a>

CBS Sports @CBSSports

.<a href="https://twitter.com/KUHoops?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@KUHoops</a> is pouring it on <a href="https://t.co/XDEZ05dNzg">pic.twitter.com/XDEZ05dNzg</a>

The senior was an efficient 8-of-12 from the floor and came through when needed the most down the stretch.

With a shutdown defense on the other end, Kansas turned an upset bid into a rout. 


Kameron McGusty Heroics Not Enough for Miami

As one of the top scorers in this year's March Madness, Kameron McGusty needed another huge effort against Kansas to give his team a chance. The guard nearly pulled it off with a third consecutive impressive effort. 

McGusty, who had 14 first-half points, was a major reason Miami took a six-point lead into the locker room.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Kameron McGusty 🔥 <a href="https://t.co/8zAHfpSrN3">pic.twitter.com/8zAHfpSrN3</a>

NCAA March Madness @MarchMadnessMBB

McGusty is HEATING UP ♨️<br><br>He's got half of <a href="https://twitter.com/CanesHoops?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CanesHoops</a>' points <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarchMadness?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MarchMadness</a> <a href="https://t.co/J6jz35PFjh">pic.twitter.com/J6jz35PFjh</a>

Adam Lichtenstein @ABLichtenstein

It’s the Kam McGusty Show right now.

Ruthie Polinsky @ruthiepolinsky

Kam McGusty plays with so much confidence. Just so fun to watch. <br><br>He’s up to 12 points with 6 minutes left in the half.

Adam Rittenberg @ESPNRittenberg

Kameron McGusty has been exceptional in this tournament for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Miami?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Miami</a>: He has 12 points so far, giving him the most ever for a Miami player in an NCAA Tournament (71). Also has hit the most contested jump shots in the tournament, per <a href="https://twitter.com/ESPNStatsInfo?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ESPNStatsInfo</a>.

McGusty averaged 19.7 points per game in the first three rounds of the tournament, including 27 in the Sweet 16 against Iowa State, and he didn't slow down against No. 1 seed Kansas.

The rest of the Hurricanes followed his lead, with Isaiah Wong especially coming through when the game was tight:

NCAA March Madness @MarchMadnessMBB

Isaiah Wong starting off HOT for the Canes! 🎯🔥 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarchMadness?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MarchMadness</a> <a href="https://t.co/ELCscijrxP">pic.twitter.com/ELCscijrxP</a>

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

HERE COMES MIAMI. <a href="https://t.co/AQ2OnZ8b2t">pic.twitter.com/AQ2OnZ8b2t</a>

It was clear from the start that Miami was not afraid of its opponent.

Things weren't quite as easy in the second half with Kansas turning up its defensive intensity. 

McGusty was swarmed nearly every time he touched the ball and finished with only 18 points after his hot start.

The Hurricanes completed an impressive run to the Elite Eight, but they were simply overmatched in this one.   

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