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Archive for Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Perfect storm: Elijah Johnson buries ISU with 39 points

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson puts up a deep three with 56 seconds remaining in overtime against Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson puts up a deep three with 56 seconds remaining in overtime against Iowa State on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

February 26, 2013

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Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after win over ISU

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 108-96 overtime victory over Iowa State on Feb. 25, 2013.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Elijah Johnson, Travis Releford

Kansas guards Elijah Johnson and Travis Releford talk after the Jayhawks' 108-96 overtime victory over Iowa State on Feb. 25, 2013.

Box score

KU-ISU

— It’s safe to say Elijah Johnson’s senior slump is over.

Johnson, Kansas University’s fourth-year point guard who has been starting floor general of a wildly successful 24-4 team despite some ugly personal shooting statistics, exploded for 39 points — that’s right, 39 — in the Jayhawks’ thrilling 108-96 overtime victory over Iowa State on Monday in Hilton Coliseum.

He hit 13 of 22 shots, including six of 10 threes and seven of seven free throws — totaling 30 points the second half and overtime.

“Wilt had some good games,” KU coach Bill Self — eyes twinkling after the 500th coaching victory of his career — said of Wilt Chamberlain, “but this will go down as one of the best games any guard has played at Kansas. I’ve never had a guy make every play in a game like that down the stretch. He was huge. He was the best player in the country. I’ve never had a guy get 30 in a half.”

Johnson had the most points of any KU player in a Big 12 Conference game in history. His 39 points were most by any KU player overall since Terry Brown had 42 against North Carolina State on Jan. 5, 1991.

“I blacked out,” Johnson said with a grin, asked if he was “in a zone.”

“Coach and I had a personal conversation early in the game (that helped him), which happens.”

Self admitted he picked up an early technical foul to try to fire up his troops on a day Iowa State knocked down 17 of 41 threes (most attempts against KU in history, one shy of the most threes made against KU). He was hot and bothered by Johnson’s play in the opening minutes.

Self let him have it during a timeout.

“He had a couple bonehead plays early,” Self said. “He said, ‘Coach, next play. Forget about it and move to the next play (as Self tells players to do).’

“I said, ‘I’ll forget about it when I’m through talking about that play,’” Self added, smiling. “It was a way of telling him that couldn’t go on.”

Ragged play didn’t continue.

Johnson, in one of the most amazing clutch performances in KU history, actually scored 25 of KU’s last 36 points — all those points coming after ISU grabbed a 79-72 lead with 5:17 left.

He hit two free throws — the second following a timeout designed to ice him — with 4.9 seconds left. Those free throws tied the game at 90 and forced overtime after a last-second 40-footer by Korie Lucious missed.

“I didn’t pay it any mind,” Johnson said of ISU coach Fred Hoiberg calling time to shake him.

Johnson also tossed in a deep three as the shot clock expired with :59 left, increasing a 100-96 lead to 103-96.

“I begged for the ball,” Johnson said.

Perhaps Johnson’s only blunder of the night was dunking in the final seconds instead of letting the clock run out. ISU fans threw objects at the Jayhawks as they exited the court.

“It was wrong,” Self said, “(but) Elijah apologized. I said something to Fred and the media. I wasn’t very happy about it, but nobody can say that last play took away from the game and our seniors.”

Senior Travis Releford exploded for 19 points. Jeff Withey had 13 points and 10 boards. And Kevin Young who had 13 points, nine boards.

Johnson was contrite about the last-ditch dunk to get to 39 points.

“I want to apologize to the coach of Iowa State for the last play. I shouldn’t have dunked,” Johnson said. “I should have dribbled it out. I got caught up in the moment. Other than that, it felt good. I have not shot the ball as well as I’ve liked.”

Johnson, who entered as a 37.9 percent shooter (31.9 from three), hit 10 of 14 shots after halftime, including five of six from three.

“It was a great performance. It was a great game,” Self said, assuring it’d be a happy “12-hour” bus ride back home after the victory kept KU tied with Kansas State in the league race at 12-3. Iowa State fell to 19-9, 9-6.

KU will meet West Virginia at 1 p.m. Saturday in Allen Fieldhouse.

Comments

flloyd 1 year, 9 months ago

Boy, once again we pulled out a victory courtesy of the refs and their missed calls.

The final minute of regulation of Kansas' 108-96 overtime victory over Iowa State on Monday is under review by the Big 12 Conference, the conference's coordinator of officials told ESPN.com Monday night.

Withe was handed a gift by the officials not calling his reach around foul on him.

The indisputable issue was a block or charge call that wasn't made when Elijah Johnson drove inside as Kansas trailed 90-88 with five seconds remaining. Iowa State's Georges Niang appeared to have his feet set, but no call was made as Johnson made contact with Niang.

Instead, Niang was called for a hold when Johnson's shot missed and the ball came loose on the floor. Johnson went to the free throw line and made the two free throws to force overtime.

Monday's officials were Tom O'Neill, Mark Whitehead and Bert Smith.

Curtis Shaw, a former longtime official and now the league's coordinator, watched Kansas' win. Shaw wouldn't say whether the officials made the right call at the end of regulation.

"We will handle the situation and approach the teams appropriately," said Shaw. "We review every play and take the appropriate action."

Under normal reviews, Shaw will look at the position of the officials, where they are when they make calls. He said there are plenty of tough calls to make during a game and officials aren't perfect. Calls are missed, no calls occur and this happens at different times of the game, even when a team doesn't have time to recover.

When asked what kind of accountability could occur for officials, Shaw said that because officials are independent contractors, the way the conference handles any kind of disciplinary action if warranted is through future assignments.

Even golfer Zach Johnson, an Iowa native, took notice of the call. Johnson wrote on Twitter: "What a horrible no call in the ISU/KU game. Refs blew this game in regulation. What is up with the officials this year? Terrible!"

Brian Conrad 1 year, 9 months ago

if not for the bad call against Withey we may have won by a dozen in regulation... so the call at the end ... people need to stop whining.. Withey was killing them until the horrible called foul...

flloyd 1 year, 9 months ago

We can dream...not a whine, just reality.

You've got to admit, we get more bad/missed calls in our favor this year then I have seen over the last twenty or so years.

And when will Coach quit with the lizard-like tongue thing when he is nervous?

windjammer 1 year, 9 months ago

More missed calls in our favor this year than in the past twenty? Give us a break with that kind of hogwash. He will probably quit when you stop all of your dumb posts.

rgh 1 year, 9 months ago

What a game for the kid. Had to have it after Ben went cold and didn't seem to want the ball. Perry stepped up big time after Kevin and Jeff both fouled out. Any win in Ames is a nice win even if the officials did blow two crucial calls (the no charge foul and giving Whithey's foul to Young who didn't even come close to touching the guy dribbling).

CardHawkFan 1 year, 9 months ago

Somebody, anybody...okay. I'll say it. The Prophet Elijah hath returned!!! Agreed, there probably should have been a foul called one way or another on his last drive in regulation and Withey should have fouled out much, much earlier (kudos to Young Money for that one). But, Niang did foul on the pass out to Nadir - which I thought was smart at the time to not allow an open three pointer - and what if it would have been called a block...the discussion on the foul would have been a near moot point. Elijah still had to hit his free throws and Iowa State and their long-range attack had plenty of time to set of a decent play before overtime and didn't...thanks to some better-than-average perimeter defense for a change. Or, what if ISU got the rebound on the missed lay-up by EJ. And, they could have just as easily won in overtime. Remember, we were playing at their place. Some people also thought Sherron might have traveled before passing it to Mario in '08. That's why they line up and play the game. Refs didn't have a winner of a game, but I would much rather see them let the kids play it out and decide than have the whistle figure it out. Just a thought...

Cary Bowlin 1 year, 9 months ago

So happy for Elijah Johnson, I have to admit I am one of his worst fans and I think he done a "in your face bowlincd" last night...Elijah, you deserved your night and I deserved my night, hoping this will be the norm for the rest of the year...thanks EJ...

cycloneguy 1 year, 9 months ago

Good win for the Jayhawks -- escaped the Clones twice this year. But the fans weren't throwing stuff on the floor at the end because of Johnson's late dunk -- it was because a few KU players turned and taunted the crowd as they left the court. I've always had great respect for the KU program, but the actions of a few last night made for a pretty classless and unnecessary ending.

Brian Conrad 1 year, 9 months ago

cycloneguy: have always had respect for ISU till this game.. your fans and student section were completely out of control ! several friends were at the game and was like a Raider game. fans were rude and shouting at KUs bench all night. threw megaphones and the guy that rushed Self should be in jail !!! period ! Mr cyclone guy , will guarantee you Your coach will never be rushed by a fan in Allen.. such action would positively get season tickets yanked and an escort to jail.

rockchalker52 1 year, 9 months ago

The last time I cried like that was right after the refs caled JoJo outa bounds at the end of the Texas Western game - and I was a few years older than the Hoiberg lad.

Fred & family seem like a quality bunch.

Armen Kurdian 1 year, 9 months ago

Yeah, that made me feel sad to see his son cry. But I was joyful to see the rest of the crowd so despondent after being so rowdy.

Richard Heckler 1 year, 9 months ago

It's hard to believe how the the officials could have missed that charging violation Whoa. The Iowa State team did play some good basketball.

Nonetheless Jayhawks it seems play their best basketball when their backs are up against the wall.

When the Jayhawks trail and/or are involved in a close game they seem to come through in the last few minutes. Just the way it is.

Brian Conrad 1 year, 9 months ago

Exactly what the Doctor ordered !!!!

**GREAT GAME EJ !!! ** GGGRRRRRRR888888888 GAME !!!!!!

have watched KU ball for almost 50 years... EJ gave us everything he had... this team just got way better. we have 5 or 6 guys that can put up 20 on a given night , other teams never know how to prepare to guard 5 guys... Withey is a force inside , and with EJ on track ... well EJ , Ben , Releford , Withey and Kevin can put up 20.. and with the minutes Perry is getting.. he Will have a 20 point night... I say in first round on NCAA tourney.

SirReal 1 year, 9 months ago

Good Job Elijah! On a side note can we do without the added in parenthesis additions by the writer of the article? In a DIRECT QUOTE I don't need inferences from the writer every time, interrupting the quote. Talk about amateur hour at the Apollo. This reads like a country bumpkin wrote it. Get a grip man.

flloyd 1 year, 9 months ago

You've got to admit, we get more bad/missed calls in our favor this year then I have seen over the last twenty or so years.

And when will Coach quit with the lizard-like tongue thing when he is nervous?

pmitch 1 year, 9 months ago

I have had a number of refs not give us similar charge calls on the high school circuit, only to explain that the defender began to fall back before contact was made. Definitely the case if you watch the replay. And anybody who watches a fair amount of college basketball should not be surprised by the refs sucking their whistles at the end of a game and there's contact at the rim. Really, the more surprising call to me was the holding foul that followed the no call.

And I would echo the comments that point out a number of pretty poor calls that went against Kansas in the second half of the game. More importantly, with such competitive games, nastiness, and bad blood, perhaps we've found a replacement second rivalry in the BIG XII? Makes sense in a geographic and slightly historic sense...

CHEEZIT 1 year, 9 months ago

That was the best game by a player since Naismith played Topeka YMCA!! Oh wait! I already said that once this year!!

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