Atlanta Kansas University looked like a national championship basketball team at the beginning and end of Saturday night's Final Four semifinal game against Maryland.
The problem for the Jayhawks was the 30 minutes in between.
Kansas opened with a 13-2 run, fell behind by as much as 20 points and rallied with a 19-4 run before running out of time in a 97-88 loss at Georgia Dome.
"I don't spend a lot of time looking at the clock, but I kept begging, pleading with our guys that this thing was not over with, we've just got to play the way we're capable of playing," KU coach Roy Williams said. "I think I was able to sell them on the idea."
Aaron Miles and Drew Gooden scored six points in the 19-4 run that cut the deficit to 87-82 with 2:04 to play. Miles turned the ball over, however, with 1:42 remaining, and Maryland's Juan Dixon scored two of his 33 points with 39.2 seconds left on the game clock and seven seconds left on the shot clock.
Senior Jeff Boschee then made another turnover, one of 16 by the Jayhawks, with 1:01 to play.
"Basically, none of us gave up," Miles said. "Coach told us to go out and believe in ourselves, just go as hard as we could. Â Unfortunately, we weren't able to come back all the way."
Kansas was within four points, 92-88, with 19.8 seconds left when Boschee called a timeout. KU had no timeouts remaining and was assessed a technical foul.
"I was caught up in the emotion of the game," he said. "I just reacted to instinct."
Gooden wouldn't stick the blame on Boschee, though. The junior forward and Nick Collison said they also signaled for a timeout on the critical play, which put Dixon at the foul line and gave UM the next possession.