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North Carolina’s Puff Johnson provided a spark off the bench for the Tar Heels during their game against Kansas in the national championship on Monday night.
Johnson played 18 minutes and was one of two people coach Hubert Davis used off his bench. He tied the game with a three-pointer with 8:17 to go. On the next Kansas possession, he would take a charge and help build some momentum for the Tar Heels.
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With 6:31 left, Johnson grabbed a key offensive rebound and cut the Kansas lead to one point with a crucial layup. He would cut the lead again to two points around the 6:31 mark with another layup.
Johnson was playing well but with about 4:23 left he hit the deck after taking a hit in the stomach. He was seen spitting up on the floor and had to be subbed out of the game.
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“During the game, I got hit in the stomach. Just didn’t go well once I got hit in the stomach. That’s about it,” he explained to reporters after the game.
Even in the 72-69 loss, Johnson had 11 points and six rebounds.
“My whole thing this whole year has been just to stay ready whenever your number is called. And I mean, I can honestly just say that I gave it everything I had,” Johnson said. “And that’s what I try to do each and every game and each and every day in life.”
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“I came into the Final Four with a bit of a banged-up hip flexor from what happened earlier in the season, reaggravated a little bit. And I can honestly say I just gave it everything I had.”