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Sunday, January 12, 2014

Scene of the crime: Hostile Hilton awaits KU

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson pulls up from the top of the key for a three-pointer against Iowa State during overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas guard Elijah Johnson pulls up from the top of the key for a three-pointer against Iowa State during overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

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Kansas guard Elijah Johnson pulls up from the top of the key for a three-pointer against Iowa State during overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

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An Iowa State fan is restrained by police after charging at Kansas head coach Bill Self after the Jayhawks' 108-96 overtime win on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

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Iowa State students watch with dismay as seconds remain in overtime on Monday, Feb. 25, 2013 at Hilton Coliseum in Ames, Iowa.

Kansas University basketball coach Bill Self fondly remembers the day a slump-ridden Elijah Johnson exploded for 39 points in an 108-96 overtime victory at Iowa State.

“It obviously ranks up there with some of the very best individual performances we’ve had since I’ve been at Kansas,” 11th-year KU coach Self said of the senior guard’s effort on Feb. 25, 2013.

The 39 points, in fact, were most by a KU player in the Self era, most by any KU player in a Big 12 game and most overall by a Jayhawk since Terry Brown dropped 42 against North Carolina State on Jan. 5, 1991.

“I don’t think we’ve ever had a guy get 30 in a half. Not only did he get 30 in a half, but 20 in a four- to five-minute stretch. We’d have had no chance to win that game unless he was unbelievable,” Self added of the Las Vegas native, who scored 25 of KU’s last 36 points.

Johnson, who now plays professionally in Poland, hit 13 of 22 shots, including six of 10 threes and seven of seven free throws, and was good for 30 points the second half and overtime.

Self, whose Jayhawks (11-4, 2-0) return to Hilton tonight for an 8 p.m. clash against ISU (14-1, 2-1), was asked if unexpected performances like Johnson’s make him “love college coaching.”

“I love coaching because I love trying to get five guys to act as one,” Self said, not buying the premise. “Certainly, Elijah was the guy that probably caught the most heat from everybody last year, fans and all, because he’s point guard at Kansas. It was great to see him play well in a situation like that.”

Johnson angered Iowa State’s fans by dunking the ball on a meaningless final possession. That play, which led to objects being thrown on the court — combined with KU’s two other victories over ISU last year — should have the building in a frenzy again tonight.

KU, which forced overtime on a banked-in Ben McLemore three, beat ISU, 98-89 in OT, on Jan. 9, 2013, in Allen Fieldhouse. McLemore exploded for 33 in that contest. KU also stopped the Cyclones, 88-73, in a Big 12 tournament semifinal on March 15, 2013, in Sprint Center. Perry Ellis had 23 in that rout.

“The fans have been waiting for this game, so I can’t wait for tomorrow. It’s going to be great,” ISU sophomore forward Georges Niang said on Sunday.

“We should take the cameras over and ask the people who are camping outside of Hilton now,” Niang added of asking fans what they think of the Big Monday matchup.

“They are all waiting to get electric, just like the Iowa game (85-82 ISU home win), the Michigan game (77-70 ISU win), the Baylor game (87-72 ISU win). It’s about to be insane, especially the first day back on campus for all the students. It’s going to be great. Everybody’s going to love it,” Niang added.

There’s a good chance security will be tight tonight after last year’s game in Ames in which a fan, later identified in the media as ISU booster Melvin Weatherwax, confronted Self on Self’s way to the locker room. A police officer was close by to tell the fan to stop yelling at Self.

“Is that the guy I became buddies with after the game last year? We never really talked. It was more of a one-sided conversation if I recall, but I never had a chance to respond. He was talking the whole time. I couldn’t get a word in,” Self said, smiling, when asked about Weatherwax by a media member.

“This will probably be as good an environment as we play in all year long. Last year we beat them three times. Two of them we actually basically lost the game and somehow won it on the scoreboard, on freaky, fluky plays. They’ll be hungry for us. They lost a tough one today to Oklahoma (87-82 on Saturday). They know how important this game is to them just like it is to us. I’d think it will be the most emotional game we played in so far this year.”

ISU senior point guard DeAndre Kane (16.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 6.1 apg) suffered a severe ankle sprain late in Saturday’s OU game and is listed as a game-time decision tonight.

Senior forward Melvin Ejim averages a team-leading 18.0 ppg and 7.2 boards. Niang contributes 15.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg, while junior forward Dustin Hogue averages 12.3 ppg and 9.3 boards.

“They are terrific,” Self said. “Kane’s great. Niang is probably as tough a matchup as there is in our league. Ejim could be first-team all-leaguer. Fred (Hoiberg, coach) does an unbelievable job of exposing mismatches, a lot of NBA-type thinking and stuff. They are good, and they are better defensively. They are very deserving of where they are in the rankings (No. 9).”

Hoiberg returned the compliments No. 18-rated KU’s way.

“They were impressive against Kansas State (86-60 victory on Saturday). They just absolutely ran away with it,” Hoiberg said. “Physical, hitting shots … they are playing with a ton of confidence. It makes them a very dangerous team when facing anybody. They are playing as well as any team in the country right now. We’ll have to be at our very best to have a chance to win.”

Niang on KU’s Andrew Wiggins: “He can jump out the atmosphere. He’s a great player. Everybody kind of knows about him with all the publicity he gets. He had a real good game, 22 points (against KSU). We kind of all are doing our personal homework on him. He has an all-around game, very aggressive, very athletic. We have to keep him off the glass, just doing what we’ve been doing.”

KU’s Tarik Black on the matchup: “I watched the Baylor game and they looked really good. They have a lot of talent. They are going to be putting up shots. We are going to have to get out and defend the three-point line. If we can keep our field goal percentage defense down we’ll have a good game.”

Naadir Tharpe on the atmosphere tonight: “I hope not as hostile as last year. It got a little too out of control. Going out there and playing and competing will be fun. It will be us against them and the fans. We’ve got to make sure we have a tight huddle. It’s going to be a fun game.”

Stats, facts: KU leads the all-time series, 173-59, dating to 1908. KU has won 16 of the past 17 meetings. ISU’s last win was 72-64 on Jan. 28, 2012, in Hilton. ... KU is 23-19 in Hilton. ... Self is 19-3 all-time versus ISU, 18-3 while at KU. Hoiberg is 1-5 all-time against KU.... Hoiberg averaged 17.4 points and 6.1 rebounds in nine games vs. KU in his Cyclone career (1992-95), going 4-5 overall. ... Hoiberg scored 32 points (17 straight in the second half) in a 69-65 win over KU on Jan. 14, 1995, in Ames. Hoiberg hit six of 12 threes that day. ... KU is 49-16 all-time on ESPN’s Big Monday (27-1 at home, 22-15 on the road), including 30-8 under Self.

Comments

Talena Bauck 3 months, 1 week ago

Mr.Zimmerman, while I afree Coach Holberg is a fine coach, chances pf him coaching at KU are about as good as the chamce Danny Manning or Mark Turegon would ever want the ISU job...

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Tim Deegan 3 months, 1 week ago

Wow, I just saw my favorite play of the year so far in a replay of the Kstate game that some kind soul uploaded to youtube. At 11:30 into the first half, there was some really pretty passing going on and then... about five feet back from the top of the key, Wayne fires this perfect, no-look pass to Joel right near the basket who slams it home with authority. I keep playing it over again and it just looks prettier on each look, like a well oiled machine. Wow.

If they play like that tonight...

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Nick Rushton 3 months, 1 week ago

Security might as well restrain Weatherwax RIGHT NOW because he is in for another rough night!!! RCJH

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Tony Bandle 3 months, 1 week ago

Anyone notive how open Elijash was on the photo above. It almost looks like the whistle had blown and the Cyclones were going back to their bench...HILARIOUS!!!!

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Jake Waddle 3 months, 1 week ago

Done working for the day... Off to that crappy town of ames!! ROCK CHALK! Who's coming with me??!!! (They are taking some 360 degree pic tonight before the game, so it would be nice to have a bunch of Blue in there!)

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Aaron Paisley 3 months, 1 week ago

Game plan for tonight needs to be attack, attack, and attack some more. ISU only goes 7 deep and with Kane not 100%, that hurts their depth even more. Wiggins and Selden need to stay aggressive and get the ISU players in foul trouble. Don't be surprised however to see ISU play quite a bit of zone tonight because of their lack of depth. If KU can get ISU in early foul trouble and live at the free throw line tonight, KU could win this one relatively comfortably. Don't get ISU in foul trouble and settle for jump shots like KSU did, and KU could easily drop this one.

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Ryan Shelton 3 months, 1 week ago

ISU actually went up a spot in the AP this week after losing to OU. By that logic I guess that means that they will skyrocket when we thump them tonight!

http://espn.go.com/mens-college-basketball/rankings/_/year/2014/poll/1

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Lance Topeka 3 months, 1 week ago

Hey! How come the LJW deleted my parody? :(

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Jonathan Allison 3 months, 1 week ago

I'm very surprised how little time Kansas is getting in the national media this weekend following the Sunflower beatdown. Everyone was talking Sunflower showdown Saturday before the game. No one talking afterward.

Wiggins didn't even make the SportsCenterU (that's SCU, not even the real SC Top 10) Saturday Top 10.

These is some talk about the ISU game today, but it all centers around Kane. The set-up is clearly there for the media to turn this game into a win-win for ISU. If KU wins they can take the Jared Sullinger angle and say but Kane was not 100%. If KU loses, then look out, there's a new sheriff in town!

I feel like every game is a statement game for KU right now. In November it was all eyes on KU. Then the team struggled a bit. Now this team is finding its swagger, but somehow they've managed to lose the media's attention and they need this win in order to get it back.

Yeah, I know that there is no flying under the radar. But if media attention affects recruiting, then we're gonna have to take care of business this week and get some love in the polls it seems before we start getting the time of day from the big talking heads.

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Bryce Landon 3 months, 1 week ago

Oh, and hopefully Mr. Weathermax will be banned from Hilton Coliseum the way that Pistons fan who provoked Ron Artest to go into the stands is banned from the Palace in Auburn Hills.

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Bryce Landon 3 months, 1 week ago

Johnson angered Iowa State’s fans by dunking the ball on a meaningless final possession. That play, which led to objects being thrown on the court — combined with KU’s two other victories over ISU last year — should have the building in a frenzy again tonight.

Don't forget the racist tweets directed at EJ after the game. And considering that Iowa was a Union state in the Civil War that's pretty sad.

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Steve Swart 3 months, 1 week ago

^ Can you say Cry-Clowns one more time?... :s)

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Tony Bandle 3 months, 1 week ago

OAKVILLE ODDITIES:

Please allow me the opportunity to make a total idiot of myself and make a case for KU to go 18-0 in the Big 12 this season.

1] OKLAHOMA - Already beat them there, will take 'em in Allen. Result 2-0.

2] KANSAS STATE - Bill Self will never lose to Bruce Weber.....E-V-E-R!!! Result 2-0.

3] IOWA STATE - No matter what they say, star player will be compromised tonight and Hilton Magic dissipates just about at 23rd street. Result 2-0.

4] WEST VIRGINIA - Huggy Bear fails to collect his bonus for beating KU...again. Result 2-0.

5] TCU - Revenge...and more revenge. Result 2-0.

6] TEXAS TECH - They couldn't beat us with the Knights..no way they beat us now. Result 2-0.

7] BAYLOR - PULEASE!!! Unless they change coaches. Result 2-0.

8] TEXAS - Same coaching issue as Baylor but at least he's a much nicer guy. Result 2-0.

9] OKLAHOMA STATE - Tough break losing key player, still a tough team, however. Two close conference battles but billionaire de facto university president goes home crying again. Result 2-0.

See how easy that was? We've all got enough reality around us already....fantasy is more fun!!

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Greg Lux 3 months, 1 week ago

Embiid aka LionKing will need to be huge tonight Niang likes to shoot 3's. I don't know why but I have a good feeling about tonights game. Our team is playing with a lot more poise and confidence since conference started so I expect a close game with KU pulling away in the second half. Team please try and block-out PLEASE.

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Jim Stauffer 3 months, 1 week ago

Hoiberg is a good man and good coach, but he does not coach enough defense to ever coach at KU.

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Suzi Marshall 3 months, 1 week ago

Playing in Ames will be like riding into the Little Big Horn with Custer. Somehow the Hawks pulled it out last year and hope the Hilton magic continues to come our way.

As for Kane, I expect some kind of Willis Reed (NBA 7th game vs Chamberlain's Lakers) emotional performance to lift the Cyclones. Reed was not expected to play then just before the game started, he showed up in the tunnel at Madison Square Garden. He didn't play alot but provided a huge emotional boost to the team with Frazier and DeBusschere doing the damage.

It will be an exciting opportunity for the Hawks to provide a huge statement with a win.

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Michael Leiker 3 months, 1 week ago

Stars are beginning to align again, as with Durant, Griffin, on down the line if Kane is out tonight my theory that somebody somewhere sold their soul keeps seeming more like reality. Thanks again to that someone

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Yonatan Negash 3 months, 1 week ago

The Indomitable Lion will have a huge game tonight.

For that matter, our big men should all have a huge impact tonight.

As noted by Niang "We kind of all are doing our personal homework on him". Translation, ISU will be all over A. Wiggins. What else is new? That's every teams game plan.

Covering and focusing on Wiggins should open up opportunities for Selden, Tharpe and others to make plays.

I personally can't wait for this game to start.

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Steve Zimmerman 3 months, 1 week ago

Hoiberg will be a great candidate as Self's successor.

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Ferd Magellan 3 months, 1 week ago

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

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