Archive for Friday, March 29, 2013

A sour ending: KU collapses late in 87-85 overtime loss to Michigan

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson watches the Michigan Wolverines celebrate after the Jayhawks' 87-85 overtime loss to Michigan on Friday, March 29, 2013 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson watches the Michigan Wolverines celebrate after the Jayhawks' 87-85 overtime loss to Michigan on Friday, March 29, 2013 at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

March 29, 2013


Box score


Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

KU coach Bill Self talks after loss to Michigan

Kansas coach Bill Self talks after his team's 87-85 overtime loss to Michigan on March 29, 2013.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Travis Releford, Jeff Withey

Kansas seniors Travis Releford and Jeff Withey talk briefly on the podium following the Jayhawks' 87-85 overtime loss to Michigan on March 29, 2013.

Press Conferences & Post-Game Interviews

Michigan coach John Beilein, Trey Burke, Mitch McGary and Tim Hardaway Jr.

Michigan coach John Beilein and playersTrey Burke, Mitch McGary and Tim Hardaway Jr. talk to reporters following the Wolverines' 87-85 overtime victory over Kansas on March 29, 2013.

— Elijah Johnson stood hunched over on the Cowboys Stadium basketball court, a picture of utter dejection after the final buzzer sounded in the final game of his Kansas University basketball career — Friday’s 87-85 overtime setback to Michigan in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

“Stuff like this you think about forever,” said Johnson, who scored 13 points with five turnovers and no assists in 24 memorable — many for the wrong reasons — minutes.

“It was a long, fun ride. People usually remember the end,” Johnson added.

Johnson put the spotlight on himself just 1:45 into the game when he was called for a Flagrant One foul for striking Michigan’s Mitch McGary (25 points, 14 rebounds) in the groin area with a closed fist while trying to run past McGary.

“It wasn’t intentional,” Johnson said. “Coach (Bill Self) asked me if I did it and I didn’t know what he was talking about.”

Johnson actually played just three minutes the entire first half because of foul problems. But he was in at the very end ... on the final possession of his season and collegiate career.

Handed the ball with 9.4 seconds remaining in OT, and KU down, 87-85, Johnson dribbled to the side and charged toward the goal. Feeling his path obstructed, he didn’t try a game-tying layup or floater, but passed way out to Naadir Tharpe, who missed a prayer of a three that barely beat the buzzer.

“Coach said he wanted to put the ball in my hand. It was on me,” Johnson said. “I tried to turn the corner. I ended up leaving the ground. When I left the ground, I didn’t like the shot I had so I tried to look for a better shot. I didn’t like my momentum.”

Tharpe, who scored two points off 1-of-8 shooting with seven assists against two turnovers in 32 minutes, said, “Yeah I was,” when asked if he was surprised when the ball came out to him from the baseline to behind the arc.

“Once it came to me I knew. There was not much time left on the clock. I tried to make a shot for myself. It wasn’t a good look.”

Asked to describe KU's plans for that last play, Tharpe said: “Elijah to get to the basket.”

As an interesting side note, KU coach Bill Self during the time setting up the final play initially asked the squad’s seniors how they wanted to attack.

“I said, ‘What do you guys want to do?’ Travis (Releford, 16 points) and those guys said, ‘Let’s shoot a three and win it.’ Then I said, ‘Or let’s drive it,’’’ Self said, smiling. “I think it was one of those things we were all on the same page leaving the time out. I don’t think that situation was the right time to intentionally clip off a three. I was going to put the ball in his hands to make a play or get the ball to Ben (McLemore, 20 points, 8-15 shooting) shooting a three. I thought the best percentage play was Elijah to drive it. He had the size advantage. It didn’t turn out the way we wanted.”

Asked whether he thought Johnson could have hoisted a possible game-tying shot, Self said: “I don’t know. He was able to get his shoulders past him (defender). But for whatever reason, he veered behind the backboard and really didn’t give himself a shot. That’s when he threw the ball back to ‘Naa.’ Naa had a shot. He pump-faked and took one bounce and didn’t get off a good look. That was poor execution,” Self added. “Obviously we didn’t do a very good job on the last possession.”

Michigan’s take is that Johnson may not have been able to complete the drive had he elected to.

“The angle he had wasn’t the best. He didn’t have a good angle to put it off the backboard,” forward Jordan Morgan said. “He got caught behind the backboard. He would’ve had to have shot a floater. That would’ve been tougher than putting it off the glass. He got caught in the air behind the basket. It would’ve been a tough shot for him.”

Johnson had a chance to perhaps ice the game in regulation, a game KU led by 14 with 6:50 left and eight points at 1:22.

He first hit two free throws to give KU a 76-71 lead with :21 left. After a Trey Burke bucket, Elijah missed the front end of a one-and-one at :12.6, Burke forcing overtime by hitting a three with 4.2 seconds to play.

“When I shot it, it felt good,” Johnson said of the final free throw. “When it left my hand, I felt it go to the side. I felt good sitting on the line.”

He committed three turnovers in four possessions as KU was squandering its lead down the stretch, one not getting the ball past midcourt in 10 seconds with KU up, 72-64.

“I love the kid,” Self said. “He had a rough game, a really poor decision to start the game (flagrant foul) that got him behind the 8-ball. We played through it. He made a couple bad, bad plays late. He also did some good things, too (hit a three that cut an 87-82 deficit to 87-85 with :45 left in OT). It’s one for him that will be tough to stomach. He’ll look back in time and reflect on what type of career he had, all those kids (seniors) had.”

Self pointed out the loss wasn’t all on Johnson. KU led by five late and failed to dive on a loose ball with a possession arrow in KU’s favor. Michigan scored on the possession.

“It was about five possessions we had a chance to get a stop or create a jump ball or anything,” Self said. “Ben muffed it (ball), they reached for it and were more aggressive. They were the more aggressive team then. And we had a chance to ice it from the free-throw line and didn’t do it. I’m not putting it on one player or one play. I could have done a much better job from the bench in that situation being up 12 late. We just didn’t get it done period. It will go down as one of the toughest games that we’ve been a part of and certainly I’ve been a part of.”

Of course, Michigan guard Burke (23 points, 10 assists) came through when it counted, tying the game with a step-back three that forced OT.

“The whole deal was don’t give up a three and we’re going to switch four,” Self said. “We switched and didn’t switch up. It was a hard shot. I wouldn’t have fouled with eight seconds left (when he started to go into his shot). Looking back now, I wish we would have, obviously. We let him come off naked and shoot it. It was from 27 to 30 feet, but still it was a great play by a big-time player.”

And so Michigan advances to Sunday’s Elite Eight game. KU’s season ends at 31-6.


Armen Kurdian 5 years, 2 months ago

I know everyone wants to throw out some recriminations, and I don't blame you. These guys gave us a fantastic year. Each one of them is dying inside now, whatever you think of their performance. Dogpiling isn't going to make anyone feel better. It feels awful. Just give them a pat on the back.

Good luck in your future seniors. .

truejayallday 5 years, 2 months ago

Well said. It was a great year, I just feel like they had all the key pieces, but only played 100% as team only a few times throughout the season. Fantastic season and story for so many players on our squad.

Currahee 5 years, 2 months ago

We won the big 12 championship and saw K-State bow out the first round. Getting to the sweet 16 was just icing on the cake. Not every basketball team gets to go to the Sweet 16, much less just being in the tourney. Congrats for a good run KU. Looks like I'll be watching Wichita St. closely from here on out!

AZWildcats81 5 years, 2 months ago

Good team....but man a cheap shot by Elijah Johnson. What was that guy thinking? Oh I guess he wasn't. We here in Arizona have a physical player in Kevin Parrom, but I never remember him going crotch diving.

elliottaw 5 years, 2 months ago

May e he was thinking about a paper he has coming up, or how to get notes for classes he kissed, or any other school related thoughts, these are not professional atheletes, please don't treat them as such. They are kids playing a game while they go to college.

Robert Rauktis 5 years, 2 months ago

Your boy Parrom doesn't go "crotch diving" as nobody in Arizona knows where a crotch is located.

Rich Noever 5 years, 2 months ago

Boy your program is in trouble if this is all you can say.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 2 months ago

"He committed three turnovers in four possessions as KU was squandering its lead down the stretch, one not getting the ball past midcourt in 10 seconds with KU up, 72-64."

I'd have to see the replay, but that looked to be the fastest ten count I've ever seen.

tecuani 5 years, 2 months ago

It was close, but elijah shouldn't have made it close.

msezdsit 5 years, 2 months ago

Yeah, I'd like to see the replay in real time and count it off. It seemed about 7 or 8 seconds at the very most.

rgh 5 years, 2 months ago

Actually looking at the shot clock, he got an extra second. It's just that most officials don't count one time for every true second, they count slower. I thought it was quick the first time also until I saw the clock.

Liberty275 5 years, 2 months ago

Does this mean I don't have to listen to more KU games at work this season?

newmedia 5 years, 2 months ago

Another tough ending as each season is unless you win it all. But hey, also another 30+ winning year, Big 12 Championship, Sweet 16 appearance, and longest run of consecutive years in the tournament. It looks like coach Self has another great crop of young talent waiting in the wings for their chance at the big time next season plus a usual good recruiting class. Already juiced for next season but still have to cheer for those Shockers tonight.

Rock Chalk

bballwizard 5 years, 2 months ago


Gary Hawke 5 years, 2 months ago

Add Kevin Young to the list of players we'll miss. I think he was the most consistent player all year. I don't remember a bad game for him. He also played to the max of his ability. Thanks!

BlackVelvet 5 years, 2 months ago

KU lost because the basketball gods were pissed at Bill Self for not benching Elijah Johnson for that junior high cheap shop groin punch. Self should have shown some class by benching him. Period.

BlackVelvet 5 years, 2 months ago

I lost a lot of respect for Self for not sending Elijah to the locker room.

Maddy Griffin 5 years, 2 months ago

Thanks to Bill and the boys for a great season! Maybe Ben will rethink the one and done and stay with us another year. Ride or die, win or lose, all day err'day, ROCK CHALK!!! Always going to love my Jayhawks, even when the road is bumpy.

jackinthebeanstalk 5 years, 2 months ago

Good, I am glad the Kansas players are crushed. They deserve, and Self deserves, no better after that blatant F2 punch to the gonads by Johnson. The refs really blew that; Johnson should have been ejected from the game immediately. Self should be fired for teaching his players to cheat and take cheap shots like that.

BigAl 5 years, 2 months ago

Do you REALLY think that Self teaches his players to take "cheap shots"? Really? After all these years coaching, can you name another instance? You obviously are not a KU fan. Just another troll looking for a reason to bash KU. Kansas won 31 games. They won the Conference and the Conference Tournament. KU beat their main foe 3 times. Very good season. And no, Self doesn't teach his players to take "cheap shots"

rgh 5 years, 2 months ago

You're really insane if you think Self would teach that or be fired for a kid making a very stupid mistake. Now put your hands above your head as Self deserves to get one hard punch to your groin.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 2 months ago

There is no blame or recrimination. No finger-pointing. No excuses.

Michigan played a better game this night. End of story.

But something has always bothered me. The story earlier this wee about the tatoos just illustrated the mmaturity and lack of personal pride on the part of the players who choose to mutilate themselves with this foolishness. I think this immaturity might jost play a great deal in the way they approach these "one and done" games.

Many, if not most of them, are thinking of a basketball career in the NBA. No thought to what they might do if they fail to succeed in the NBA. I wonder about the mind set of some of these players who are "thinking ahead" about their prospects. " What if I get injured making a play?" " What if I don't make a good appearance to the scouts? "

There can be a lot of second-guessing and" Monday-morning-quarterbacking" as to what went wrong,but what it all boils down to is, the other team simply had more of the best things in this game. And the KU team lacked the focus and attention to the task at hand, for whatever reason, to prevail in the final outcome.

7texdude 5 years, 2 months ago

Someone is immature cuz they have tattoos? Give me a break. They just like a different style and I'm sure everyone is glad they don't look or think like you. And if you had a chance at the NBA and making millions, you'd focus on that, too.

Bad loss, but good season. Rock Chalk!.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 2 months ago

YES!! Immature, foolish, childish, faddish, words fail me. A beacon of irresponsibility to "normsl" prople.

Fred Whitehead Jr. 5 years, 2 months ago

"normal people" Gads, I need to slow down!!!!!

Brian Conrad 5 years, 2 months ago

Yeoman go eat yogurt and get back to zen... you know not of what you speak... KU was by far the better team .. they did not beat us .. we gave the game away PERIOD !

James Minor 5 years, 2 months ago

The KU Men BB team took us on a great ride in the tournament. Because of our standards and that we are used to going far in the tournament alot of fans are disappointed. But, they are still student atheletes who will make mistakes. Good wishes to our seniors and Ben on a great and enjoyable season!! Next year will be just as good if not better!!! Rock Chalk Jayhawk baby and ten straight Big 12 championships in 2014!!!!!

Alceste 5 years, 2 months ago

Wonder what manner and style of tattoo goes with the defeat for the guys.....and what's the tramp stamp look like to remind of this ever so amusing loss?

Rich Noever 5 years, 2 months ago

Nadir: 2 points, 7 Assists. Johnson: 13 points, 0, as in none, assists. Burke:23 points, 10 assists. End of story. How many of Self's guards starting in NBA? 0.

James Minor 5 years, 2 months ago

Chalmers and Taylor played for Self. Mario starts for an unknown NBA team called the Miami Heat and Tyshawn plays for Brooklyn ---- Both are getting paid!!!! :)

Brian Conrad 5 years, 2 months ago

Releford should have had the chance to drive to the rim on final posession of regualtion ... EJ was not the guy .. all year he had been turning it over or making mistakes at end of game... great gamd Travis , Withey , Nadir , Ellis , B Mac and Young... seemed like mid season EJ turned into Phil Pressey and decided NOT to listen to coach. "it is my team" one thing even EJ was not quite as bad as Pressey.. very surprized Self allowed a player to just do what he wanted.. benched B Mac .. it was obvious EJ should have sat last 2 minutes... sorry EJ you gave us 3 great years then you decided you could make bonehead plays like Tyshawn.. only thing .. you were not unstopable going to rim... Tyshawn made up for a bunch.. senior just turning ball over at crutial times in several and I mean several games this year.. yes he played great ISU but he gave away at least 2 other games... now 3..worst part is in his head I am sure he thought he was doing the right thing for the team and fans...

greenworm 5 years, 2 months ago

I would like to say goodbye to the 4 seniors that are leaving....

jeff (block daddy) withey travis (mr. consistency) releford kevin (energy) young elijah (jeckyl and hyde) johnson

rgh 5 years, 2 months ago

Short and sweet. Gonna miss this group. EJ had a better season last year when he didn't have to run the point but people shouldn't hate on him constantly.

msezdsit 5 years, 2 months ago

I think we can try to be nice nice about all of this but at the same time you can look at the game and try to figure out just what happened. Bill Self was stubbornly committed to playing Johnson and living or dying by his play. Ku played well enough to build a modest lead while Johnson was on the bench for three "bone headed" plays and when he did get in he managed too, with the help of Burkes multiple 30 footers that just happened to go in, lose the game for the Hawks. I will only say this and I don't mean to be piling it on but: Johnson picked up 2 quick fouls, one being flagrant, and committed his 3rd foul immediately after being reinstated in the lineup. While he was out KU built a lead. Had he picked up his 4th and 5th foul as quick as his third then Ku would have a game Sunday. Go Shockers.

Sad to see it end but thank you four seniors who poured your lives into our beloved jayhawks and yes, that goes for you Elijah, we still love you and will always remember you because you are a super great kid.


rgh 5 years, 2 months ago

Great season win wise, just frustrating to see a senior laden team with so many turnovers all year long. At least Ben got that bad taste of Josh Selby out of our mouths and Withey was the man inside the paint all year long. Releford was solid in all aspects and EJ was disappointing but gave us some great memories. I love KU because we look forward to national titles not just making the Sweet Sixteen like WSU, Misery, or K-State. We're losing a lot but we'll reload as usual and be just fine next year.

CHEEZIT 5 years, 2 months ago

Did the loss hurt? Absolutely! Questioning a coach who has averaged 30 wins in 10 seasons, really???

drillsgt 5 years, 2 months ago

Johnson you will not be missed..take that show to veterans park

Jennifer Klopp 5 years, 2 months ago

Way to go Wichita State-Congratulations on your Final Four berth!

Alceste 5 years, 2 months ago

Still.....what's the tattoo of the day for loser? For that matter, what's the tramp stamp of the day to help the loser make the pain go away. ? We all know basketball player losers groupees have gotten together and made some decisions on just how to "correct" those ever so attractive "tramp stamps" they, each and every one, "sport"......

Inquiring minds just got to know.......

Alceste 5 years, 2 months ago documents what Mr. Johnson is all about. Is there a tattoo for this kind of good sporting action??

Commenting has been disabled for this item.