Elijah Johnson lifts KU to victory


1. Elijah Johnson: He rallied his team from behind and drove it to the Sweet 16 with 18 points, four boards, three assists, two steals and just one turnover. In the final three minutes and change he hit a three, threw a daring lob to Tyshawn Taylor on a 2-on-1 break, had a steal and a layup and picked up two rebounds. He wouldn’t let Kansas lose.

2. Travis Releford: Had the most success of anybody at slowing down Robbie Hummel and totaled 10 points, six rebounds and one steal. Didn’t have any turnovers.

3. Tyshawn Taylor: Missed all four three-pointers, but finished the game strong and had four assists and two turnovers on the night.

4. Thomas Robinson: Double-teamed all night, his shots were thrown too hard off the glass and he made just 2 of 12. Still battled for 13 rebounds, five offensive, and had three assists, two steals and a block.

5. Kevin Young: Had some trouble defensively early but elevated for a monster offensive rebound late and contributed seven rebounds (five offensive) in 13 minutes. Also had a blocked shot and a turnover.

6. Jeff Withey: Purdue’s lack of size made this game a tough one for Withey and he played just 15 minutes, contributing four points, two rebounds and two blocked shots.

7. Conner Teahan: Played 31 minutes and hit two big threes in the first half, but cooled in the second half.

8. Naadir Tharpe: Hit a huge three in the first half, missed two others, threw an errant pass for a turnover and was removed after getting picked on defensively.

9. Justin Wesley: Made 1 of 3 free throws in five minutes of action.

The Keegan Ratings: Season Standings
1. Thomas Robinson (309 points)
2. Tyshawn Taylor (292 points)
3. Jeff Withey (258 points)
4. Elijah Johnson (245 points)
5. Travis Releford (229 points)
6. Conner Teahan (178 points)
7. Kevin Young (158 points)
8. Justin Wesley (117 points)
9. Naadir Tharpe (87 points)
10. Merv Lindsay (11 points)
11. Jordan Juenemann (9 points)


mjlindsm 7 years, 7 months ago

I knock on Conner all the time, but this is wrong. He played the best defensive game of his career tonight. He was great chasing his man off screens in the triangle-and-two. His shots weren't falling, but he was huge on defense. D is usually his biggest weakness, but tonight, he was really good.

hawk_of_ages 7 years, 7 months ago

Some joker here this weekend was saying that Conner only hits his 3's when we're way ahead and the game is decided. That was proven wrong once and for all in the first half of this game when he hit two big 3s when we desperately needed them, keeping us in the game when we were in danger of facing a VCU-like deficit that we wouldn't be able to recover from. He did go cold again in the 2nd half, unfortunately, along with everyone else except EJ. I think EJ was the only one who hit a three the entire 2nd half.

actorman 7 years, 7 months ago

You're right, mjlindsm. Conner had a tremendous game, despite his cold shooting.

I would also move KY up, if for no other reason than that offensive rebound. I still can't fathom how he got to that ball, and it was a huge play.

johnsont1 7 years, 7 months ago

Bill Self should be at the top of this list. His switch to match-up zone took away Purdue's only offensive weapon.

John White 7 years, 7 months ago

I would disagree just because it took Self so long to make this switch. Perhaps he could have made it in any number of the first half timeouts before they let Hummel score 22 in a half.

sleepy33 7 years, 7 months ago

I dunno...seems to me like it takes a pretty big pair to switch to a zone for only the second time all season, in a tournament game, against a team (or player) that was shooting as well as Purdue was. I think it's pretty ballsy he tried it at all, so if he felt he had to wait until after the half, making sure he had plenty of time to talk through the details with the team, so be it.

hawk_of_ages 7 years, 7 months ago

You're quite wrong about Withey. He made some nice plays while he was in there, but Self sat him most of the game to try and get the best possible matchups for T-Rob. Not sure if that was really a good decision or not, but it's definitely no reflection on Withey himself.

baldwinjhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't understand why he benches jeff for so long. When jeff plays they can't double team TRob.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 7 months ago

Hawk is right. It wasn't even Purdue's lack of size as much as TRob's inability to defend on the perimeter that sat Jeff. And if we can't hit from outside, then we can make the other team pay for doubling the post, whether Jeff is in or not.

fansincewilt 7 years, 7 months ago

Withey has another year. For Robinson, this is it. Self gave Robinson every opportunity for him to show the scouts what he was capable of. It just wasn't a great night for him. However, 13 boards on an off-night is not too shabby and those rebounds helped us to win. Our rebounding edge was one of the greatest reasons we won this game. Our shot percentage was really bad but our offensive boards gave us enough of second chances to pull it out. I'm not sure how many 2nd chance points we got but there were enough.

Dirk Medema 7 years, 7 months ago

How many O rebounds were of their own misses? Or another way of saying it, how many misses from less than 5 feet?

John Randall 7 years, 7 months ago

You have no concept of which you speak.

The day Bill Self does anything to benefit one player over the team's chance to win a game, I'll turn in my 54-year Jayhawk credentials.

clevelandjayhawker 7 years, 7 months ago

which KY rebound? the game is kinda a blur to me this morning.

Bangkok_Jayhawk 7 years, 7 months ago

If Tyshawn and Thomas pick it up, this will be fun!

KGphoto 7 years, 7 months ago

We snuck into the 16 without much noise from either. At some point we are going to get a good matchup and TRob is gonna blow up.

Alohahawk 7 years, 7 months ago

After the Purdue game, and despite it's #2 seed, KU is probably looking like easy pickin's to some. That might work to KU's advantage. Overconfidence, IMHO, has led to some upsets in this tournament. (ie. Mizzery and Duke) But I don't think KU has felt overly confident. If anything, they've probably felt they have to prove themselves as the over-achievers they are. And if you look at what was expected of them from the start, KU has to be the surprise team in Div. I basketball this season. After KU lost the services of three of their freshmen recruits, they have far surpassed the expectations I had for them. Any more wins in the tournament are icing on this fan's cake. Light the candles, Hawks, I'm hungry for dessert.

REHawk 7 years, 7 months ago

The game of basketball is so complex; Xs and Os sometimes are mindboggling. It would seem to be so simple for T-Rob and Withey to play off each other, Thomas lofting the ball to his 7' teammate the moment the 3-man swarm faces him for the smother. But that element of our potential game rarely has worked for this season's Jayhawk squad. Only once or twice per game do we usually see our bigman combo work effectively in unison on the offensive end of the court.

KGphoto 7 years, 7 months ago

Steve Kerr does a great job of analyzing these complexities. Last night he was having a blast watching the coaches counter each other's moves. I usually learn a lot just listening to him break it down.

waywardJay 7 years, 7 months ago

I was watching this thinking the whole time, Yeah this sucks, but these are too of the Brightest out there today at altering the game. A team that can only Ball one way, and plays it that way exclusively against a team that can win in almost any style and is willing to play another's style to prove to them they are the best.,...

Not surprising Defense carried the day.... The only fast break points I think we had were those 4 at the end, and it was because Purdue was not athletic enough or not fast enough to get back on D.

The game plan they had on Thomas was the right call, Our adjustment on Hummel in the second half was the right call. The switch to a two man game late on offense with Tyshawn and Trob in a pick and roll I thought was brilliant but might be tipping our hands for future games, but If ELijah's showing and RELE locks down and gives us 8 a game.... THere is no reason to think we cannot go 2-0 in this Bracket too.

John Randall 7 years, 7 months ago

Exactly when in the game did you think we could hold our cards close to the vest and still have 'future games' to think about?

Jonathan Unruh 7 years, 7 months ago

Agreed, didn't Self take out Withey after he just scored 4 pts. I think Withey should have been in down the stretch. Hell he's the only one consistent on free throws. His defensive is an igniter too. We are lucky to pull this one out without him in there.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 7 months ago

I had to hand my remote to my wife because I was afraid that it may end up being tossed through my plasma screen!

On the down side, I may not get another new TV this year... unlike after Bucknell, Bradley, Northern Iowa, and VCU

Alohahawk 7 years, 7 months ago

We're all spoiled. My 65 inch TV would have needed repairs if KU had lost that second matchup with Mizzery. (I remember growing up in Topeka, with a 12" black and white TV, a rooftop antennae, and three stations within reception distance, one of which was half snow.)

However, KU has already surpassed my expectations with the Purdue win, so I'm now ready to relax and enjoy the ride. Maybe with a few sixpacks to celebrate when the Hawks make it to the Final Four.

R C J H G K U !!!!!!!!! (All caps)

DCLawHawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Every starter for the Jayhawks won Big 12 Player of the Week at some point this season except for Elijah Johnson. Well, they may not give that award out during the NCAA Tournament, but Elijah Johnson just earned Big 12 Player of the Week honors in my book! The Prophet's time has come. Someone in Lawrence ought to construct a fake Big 12 Player of the Week trophy to present to him. RCEJH!

Alohahawk 7 years, 7 months ago

+1 Nice idea. EJ deserves most of the credit for the first 2 tourney wins. While the wins were team efforts, without EJ the Jayhawks would be watching the rest of the games in Lawrence.

REHawk 7 years, 7 months ago

Two rock solid games in Omaha for Elijah. Stepping up to meet the call, just at the right time!

Scott Smetana 7 years, 7 months ago

Don't get me wrong.. I think Self is a Genius. But....

I just don't understand why Withey wasn't in the game more, especially when they were taking it inside more the second half. He's not that slow, is he? TRob passes it so well to Withey when he gets doubled. I'd rather see TRob pass to 2 time Big 12 player of the year Withey under the bucket than out to Teahan. Any one else wondering this too?

Tony Bandle 7 years, 7 months ago

Has anyone sensed that there ws something special going on with this season after are old friend, 100, disappeared from this site.

I fear that he is in that fieldhouse in the sky but I think he and TRob's Mom and Coach Don and Wilt and Bob Frederick and a host of other celestial Jayhawks are working overtime for this club.

What is happening with this team is beyond logic and reason. The incredible comebacks, the lack of injuries with this shallow roster, has anybody even fouled out in the last two months??

It's a wonder and it's wonderful. Win, lose or draw, this will always be one of my favorite Kansas teams!!

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