ARLINGTON, Texas -- Kansas leading scorer Ben McLemore is one of the main reasons the Jayhawks won a ninth straight Big 12 title and remained near the top of the Associated Press poll for most of the season.
But in Sunday's round-of-32 victory over North Carolina, KU's freshman phenom was forced into a new role.
"Ben," KU coach Bill Self said, "became our biggest cheerleader."
Unfortunately for the Jayhawks, motivating and encouraging his teammates from the sideline was about the only thing McLemore had to contribute to KU's 70-58 victory. McLemore missed each of his nine field goal attempts and was benched for all but six minutes in the second half of the come-from-behind win.
"Thank God he has a week to prepare for this next one," KU center Jeff Withey said after the game. "We need him to be firing on all cylinders."
Indeed, beating Michigan in the Sweet 16 on Friday will be darn near impossible unless the old Ben McLemore resurfaces at Cowboys Stadium.
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