Johnson leads Jayhawks to comeback win at Iowa State

Posted 1 year ago

By Dave Riggert

KUElijah Johnson scored a career-high 39 points – 12 in overtime – and No. 6 Kansas rallied to beat Iowa State 108-96 on Monday night for coach Bill Self’s 500th career win.

Travis Releford added 19 points for the Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3 Big 12), who snapped Iowa State’s 22-game home winning streak and kept pace with No. 13 Kansas State atop the Big 12.

Johnson made two free throws with 4.9 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 90-all. He and Releford buried 3s to put Kansas ahead 100-92 with 2:03 left, and Johnson drilled a 30-footer with 54 seconds left.

Korie Lucious scored 23 points and Tyrus McGee had 22 for the Cyclones (19-9, 9-6), who dropped their third overtime game in Big 12 play – and their second straight at the hands of the Jayhawks.

After the game a handful of those in the student section hurled small plastic megaphones at the Jayhawks as they ran back to their locker room.

For all the talk concerning Self’s quest for win No. 500, this game seemed destined to hinge upon whether Iowa State, one of the nation’s best offenses, could score enough on the stingy Jayhawks, the nation’s leader in field goal percentage defense entering play.

As it turned out, both teams had little trouble making shots until overtime.

That’s when the Cyclones lost their touch.

Freshman Georges Niang beat the shot clock with a 3, Iowa State’s 17th of the game, to give the Cyclones an 87-82 lead with 44.5 seconds left. But Johnson answered, and the Jayhawks went 6 of 7 from the field in overtime while Iowa State went 1 of 9.

For Iowa State, this loss was painfully similar to the one in Lawrence on Jan. 9.

Ben McLemore banked in a late 3 to force overtime of a game the Cyclones had controlled throughout. The Jayhawks prevailed, and though the Cyclones bounced back they certainly didn’t forget their lost night in Lawrence.

But with March just around the corner, Iowa State and the rest of the league is chasing the Jayhawks – again.

Though Kansas and K-State are tied for first, the Jayhawks hold the tiebreaker because they beat the rival Wildcats twice. Kansas’ remaining regular season schedule; Texas Tech and West Virginia at home, struggling Baylor on the road, doesn’t appear to be all that daunting as the Jayhawks go for at least a share of its ninth straight Big 12 title.

Self, who began his head coaching career at Oral Roberts, is 293-57 at Kansas. He tied former Temple legend John Chaney by reaching 500 victories in his first 662 games.

His milestone night got off to an interesting start, though

Self was called for a rare technical foul for arguing a call less than 3 minutes into the game – much to the delight of a raucous, sellout crowd decked out in bright gold.

— Associated Press —