The short stuff proved to be the tough stuff for Kansas. And that proved to be the Jayhawks' undoing.
A pathetic inside shooting night turned the national title game against Duke into an evening of missed opportunities - literally - for Kansas.Time after time, Kansas took the ball to the basket, only to see it bounce off the rim, glance off the backboard or roll off into the hands of a waiting Duke player.
Kansas missed nine layups and 12 other shots under 10 feet, stunningly miserable statistics that told the story of Monday night's game.
"I've never seen the basket seem like it had a lid on it like it did tonight for Kansas," Jayhawks coach Roy Williams said. "We missed so many close shots. We had so many chances inside that didn't go in."
Kansas shot the ball half again as much as Duke, but only 27 of the 65 attempts went in. Of the 65 shots, 38 were inside 10 feet, and 21 of them didn't drop.
Duke, meanwhile, hit all 10 of its layups and missed only six shots inside 10 feet.
"I don't know what it was, I may never know," said guard Terry Brown. "You have to give Duke's defense a lot of credit, but we still should have shot better. I guess it just was one of those nights, just one of those nights."
Kansas missed six layups in the first half, and any thoughts it was going to get any easier disappeared quickly when Alonzo Jamison missed a wide-open layup to open the second half.
Jamison, who was 1-for-10 on the night, capped the game with a missed tip-in as Kansas fought desperately to get back in the contest.
"I think the last possession was truly indicative of the whole game," Williams said. "We miss a layup, get the rebound and miss again. Then all of a sudden it goes out of bounds off of us with eight seconds to play."
The poor inside shooting was a team effort, which had six different players miss either layups or tip-ins.
Even Kansas forward Mark Randall, who hit 7-of-9 shots, wasn't immune. Both of Randall's misses were on layups, this on a night he hit his only 3-pointer of the season.
"We had a lot of shots, a lot of tips and second-chance shots we couldn't hit," Randall said. "I can't remember our ever having such a bad night on easy shots, 3-footers and tap-ins. You just can't do that."