A fade away 3-point shot by Mario Chalmers sent the NCAA Division I Championship game into overtime last night and insured Chalmers a place in Jayhawk history. The junior guard’s shot was a spark plug that rejuvenated the Kansas offense and ushered in their first national title in 20 years. In overtime the 'hawks defeated the Memphis Tigers 75-68.
The Tigers, who trailed by five at the half, jumped out to an 8-2 run in the start of the second half to take the lead. Memphis continued to pound home points as they set off on a 10-0 stretch that saw eight points by Chris Douglas-Roberts.
Down by nine, 60-51, KU shook off the onslaught and settled down to play ball. Darrell Arthur hit a mid-range jumper and was followed by Sherron Collins with a three-pointer to cut the lead to four.
With less than a minute to play, the Jayhawks decided to test the Tiger’s shaky free-throw shooting. Memphis, who hasn’t needed clutch free throws throughout the tournament, missed three vital shots. Douglas-Roberts hit the backside of his attempts with 10 seconds to go to go up 63-60.
As Collins was scrambling down the court, he pitched the ball to his left into the hands of Chalmers.
"I got a good look. They gave me a good pass. When it left my hand it felt good and I was just glad it went in," said Chalmers.
Senior Guard Russell Robinson said, “"Mario did a great job. He always steps up when we call on him."
Memphis put up a prayer on the following inbounds pass but it bounced harmlessly away from the basket.