For the 25th time this season, Devonté Graham exited the court having played all but one minute of regulation.
He had expended everything for his program, for his coach and for his teammates. So it was heartbreaking to him for his team-high 23 points to not be enough to lead the Kansas Jayhawks to a national championship.
The 95-79 defeat at the hands of Villanova in Saturday's Final Four didn't appear to hit Graham until he was substituted off the court for the first time, with 32 seconds remaining, another near-complete performance. With 39 more minutes, Graham upped his program record for minutes played in a season to 1,435.
He staggered over to the sideline and couldn't make eye contact with KU coach Bill Self, who wrapped Graham in a hug as Graham, the Big 12 Player of the Year and All-American, began to break down crying on Self's shoulder.
It was hard to believe this was how it ended for Graham and KU's other senior, Svi Mykhailiuk.
"I just knew it was my last time coming off the court in a Kansas uniform and just got really emotional," Graham said. "But it has been a great ride, great journey. These last four years have been a blessing. And I just got really emotional."
After KU's season concluded at 31-8, Self had the same message for both of his seniors in the immediate aftermath of the loss.
"Just be proud of ourselves and to keep our heads up," Mykhailiuk said. "A lot of people didn't expect us to do what we did. I think it was a great season."
The loss won't tarnish the careers of what became the best-shooting duo in KU history.
Mykhailiuk set the KU single-season record for three-pointers with 115, breaking the 27-year-old record set by Terry Brown (111) from the 1990-91 season, while Graham wasn't far behind with 110. It was the first time in program history for two players to make at least 100 threes in a season.
They combined to make 501 threes the past three seasons, shattering the previous best of Kirk Hinrich and Jeff Boschee, who combined for 405 from 2000-02 for Kansas. Graham finished his career No. 2 all-time at KU in career threes with 296, while Mykhailiuk finished fourth with 237.
"It was a great four years for me," Mykhailiuk said. "I got to meet a lot of great people. I'm going to get my degree. I played with a lot of great guys. It was a great part of my life."
Graham ends his career ranked 13th at KU in career scoring (1,750), fifth in assists (632) and seventh in steals (197). Graham set the school record for assists in a season with 279 (a 7.2 average).
Of course, the 2018 seniors will also be remembered for their role in extending KU's team dominance. The Jayhawks have won 14 consecutive Big 12 titles — an NCAA conference championship record — in a streak that began before either player turned 10 years old. Graham and Mykhailiuk also won 121 games in four years with the Jayhawks.
Rarely in the past four years did it feel like KU was up against an insurmountable opponent as it did after just six minutes on Saturday in San Antonio as Villanova built a 15-point advantage, 19-4. By halftime, Villanova had tied the Final Four record for made three-pointers in a game with 13 triples and led 47-32.
Graham was good offensively in the first half, making 4 of 8 shots to score a team-best 10 points. But he (and all Jayhawk defenders) struggled to contain Villanova from the three-point arc, as his defensive assignment, Jalen Brunson, had 13 points, four assists and three three-pointers to lead the assault.
Meanwhile, Mykhailiuk struggled to find where he fit in offensively for the game's first 28 minutes. He missed his first four shots before hitting a step-back jumper with 11:46 remaining, followed by a corner three on the next possession.
But KU could never produce enough defensive stands to make the second half dramatic, never once having a possession with the possibility of trimming Villanova's lead to single-digits.
"I'm really proud of our guys," Self said. "We did not have the perfect roster in many ways to probably win 31 games and win the league in a great league and conference tournament and get to the Final Four. And to be honest with you, it felt like today it kind of just caught up with us."
After the game, Graham was asked what he will miss most about his four years at KU.
Graham collected his thoughts before answering.
"Everything," he said. "I can't say just one thing. The coaching staff, all the friends you make, and the fan base is amazing. And just waking up in our dorm and being able to walk over to the fieldhouse and shooting and practices. Man, just everything I'm going to miss, for real."