Donovan “Puff” Johnson showed his guts in the biggest moment of his life — literally and with his play.
As the rest of his eighth-seeded North Carolina teammates struggled in the men’s NCAA Tournament championship game against No. 1 Kansas, Johnson scored five key points to bring his total to 11, and his 3-pointer tied the score at 57. He was the lone Tar Heel coach Hubert Davis substituted off the bench in a six-man rotation.
With less than four minutes remaining, officials paused the game when a suddenly exhausted Johnson went to the ground on his hands and knees. The sophomore from Moon Township, Pennsylvania, vomited on the court and was helped off. He would later return.
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On the TBS broadcast, reporter Tracy Wolfson said North Carolina said Johnson took a blow to the stomach that knocked the wind out of him and that he was trying to catch his breath.
Johnson added six rebounds and an assist. Kansas won in a wild finish, 72-69.
Before Monday, Johnson had scored in double-digits twice — he managed two points against Duke in Saturday’s semifinal. He signed a name, image and likeness deal with delivery company “GoPuff” recently.
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