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NC State rally falls short in 60-57 loss to Kansas

By Dave Skretta

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, March 24 2012 12:11 a.m. MDT

Williams' 3-pointer gave the Wolfpack a 17-11 lead — their biggest of the half.

Kansas eventually clawed back, relying on defense during a 12-0 run. Withey provided most of it inside with seven blocks in the first half.

"I was just in a zone," he said. "After the first block I just got in a rhythm."

Leslie answered with back-to-back baskets for N.C. State, and his bucket on the heels of a 3-pointer by Wood gave the Wolfpack a 33-32 lead at the break — their last lead of the game.

Johnson, who provided the big shots that allowed Kansas to reach St. Louis, hit his only 3-pointer of the game out of halftime. It was the start of a 12-2 run during which Leslie was forced to the bench with four fouls and nearly 16 minutes still on the clock.

"It was a very physical game. They're very active coming over and helping," he said.

Kansas extended the lead to 50-40 when Taylor lobbed a pass to Withey for an alley-oop dunk, and a partisan crowd inside the Edward Jones Dome roared in approval.

Leslie finally checked back in with less than 7 minutes left, giving N.C. State a brief boost. But moments later he was back on the floor as trainers appeared to work on a cramp, and Kansas pounded away inside before he checked back into the game.

The lead was 58-50 with just over 3 minutes remaining, and Kansas managed to hold on during a furious final stretch to reach another regional final — and earn a date with the Tar Heels.

"We didn't shoot the ball really great. To get the win feels really good," Withey said. "It was all defense, and we're dancing. We're still in the NCAA tournament."

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