NEW ORLEANS -- Kansas star Thomas Robinson told his teammates they could beat No. 1 overall seed Kentucky for the national title Monday night at the Superdome. He told them national player of the year Anthony Davis wasn't Superman no matter how many shots he blocked.
After the Jayhawks suffered a 67-59 loss and Davis was named Most Outstanding Player of the tournament, Robinson was asked how it felt to pull on Superman's cape. Although Davis was limited to six points, he had 16 rebounds, five assists and six blocked shots and controlled the paint.
Although Robinson scored 18 points, he shot 6-for-17. "I still don't think he's Superman,'' Robinson said, indicating he's never going to give an opponent that much credit. But he added, "He's a great player. I didn't mean any disrespect. You see he impacted the game without even scoring. That's what he does.''
Kansas missed 18 shots at the rim and shot only 35.5 percent for the game.
"It's hard to shoot over such great length,'' Kansas coach Bill Self said. "No team in America can simulate that length. But that's who we are. We take it in there. [Davis] controlled it in the first half. In the second half, I thought we did a better job.''
Self lauded Tyshawn Taylor, who led the Jayhawks with 19 points, for some of the acrobatic shots he made in the lane. But he also took some crazy ones simply because Davis was such a looming presence at all times. That made it hard for the Jayhawks to sustain one of their patented comebacks.
They came from 16 behind in the second half to pull within five at the 1:37 mark, but they could get no closer.
"I'm proud of the way we fought back,'' Taylor said. "Now, it's a bad feeling because we worked so hard to get to this one game, and we came up short. It's going to hurt for a while. But we fought our hearts out like we have all year.''
Self said the other critical factor was the play of Kentucky guards Doron Lamb, who had 22 points, and Marquis Teague, who had 14.
"Where they killed us was in transition,'' Self said. "And when they missed, they controlled the offensive rebounds.''
It was a great effort by the Jayhawks to make it as close as they did at the end, but Kentucky had all the answers.