With a minute to go, the game seemed over. With 10 seconds to go, the game seemed over. That is when I received the following text message from my brother: "Come on dad! work your magic!" he was referring to our late father who was no doubt looking down and smiling last night. Just like that, Derrick Rose missed his first free throw and Chalmers tied the game with a shot that the Jayhawk Nation will never forget.
Seriously though, did this really happen? Did Memphis really miss four of their last five free throws in regulation? Did they really get an offensive rebound with 10 seconds to go and weather two different storms in the last 20 seconds, yet still give KU a chance to tie it? Did they really not foul right away and allow Chalmers a chance to tie it? YES! Did Roy Williams really put a KU sticker on his shirt and sit in the stands rooting for his old team?
I just can't believe this really happened. I was a wreck all night long, but when Derrick Rose hit that ridiculous bank shot fade-away with about four minutes left, I knew it was over and it wasn't meant to be. Was I ever going to get that championship feeling? I was convinced the answer was no. But then came the run.
A Sherron Collins inbounds pass and steal turned into a big three. The Joey Dorsey fifth foul away from the basket and the Chalmers free throws. The Darrell Arthur fadeaway. The missed Memphis free throws. The Chalmers three. WOW. Not until KU had the ball back down two with about 20 seconds left did I actually think there was a shot. Then Collins went OOC and drove wildly to the hole and was swatted. All of us in the room were cursing his poor decision. Still, Chris-Douglas Roberts granted us all a reprieve with two misses at the line. Yet, Arthur forgot to box out Robert Dozier and KU had to foul Rose. Now I was 100% SURE he would hit both and we'd be done. So much for "we will hit them when they count," right coach Calipari?
When the Chalmers three was in the air, it felt like five minutes went by. When it dropped, I screamed "OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!" I literally didn't believe it had just happened. On to OT we went and you just knew Memphis was done.
As the clock hit zero, I didn't know what to do. I hugged my boys, I teared up, I stood in disbelief watching as the KU players and coaches celebrated. But more than anything, it felt as though the weight of the world was off of my shoulders. I seriously felt different. Something that has lived with me for 32 years had died. One of my teams actually won it all and the championship I had so badly wanted was here.
I couldn't sleep all night. The boys went out in Chicago for some drinks to celebrate. I came back to Sean's apartment and we watched highlights. I was so geeked up. I'm up early again. The whole thing just feels so good. I came to a conclusion last night, it's over for me and the blog. I can now officially retire "My Teams are Cursed," because you know something, they aren't. Maybe my Cleveland teams still are, but my beloved Kansas Jayhawks have delivered something to me that I have always wanted and needed. Later today, I will post the article link roundup as well as game analysis, but after that, it's over folks. Thanks for everyone's well wishes, support, and love. This was truly one of the great nights of my life.
They did it! THE CURSE IS FINALLY DEAD!