Elijah Johnson scored eight points in the last 35.7 seconds of regulation, part of a career-high 39 points, as Kansas conjured a little magic of its own in a 108-96 overtime win at Hilton Coliseum Monday night. The win gave Kansas head coach Bill Self 500 for his career and snapped a 22-game home winning streak for Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum.
Johnson scored 30 points after halftime but did his best work reviving the Jayhawks in the final seconds as security prepped the court for storming by the Iowa State (19-9, 9-6 Big 12) students. Trailing 87-82, the senior guard put Kansas on his shoulders and hit two three-pointers and a pair of free throws to tie the game against deafening jeers with four seconds left. Johnson, whose previous career-best was 26 points, added 12 in overtime to help keep Kansas (24-4, 12-3 Big 12) remain at the top of the Big 12 leaderboard.
Travis Releford (19), Jeff Withey (13) and Kevin Young (13) joined Johnson in double figures and helped Self become the ninth-fastest coach to 500 wins in just his 662nd career game. After Monday night’s win, Self owns a 500-162 (.755) mark in 20 years as a head coach at Oral Roberts, Tulsa, Illinois and Kansas.
No. 500 will certainly be a memorable one for Self, a milestone chock full of drama. In front of a sold-out, raucous crowd, Self drew a technical foul in the game’s opening minutes and saw his team fall behind by as many as seven in the early going.
Iowa State big man Georges Niang gave the Cyclones a 14-7 lead with ISU’s third three-pointer at the 16:27 mark, but Self called a timeout and KU responded with a 7-0 run to tie it up less than two minutes later.
The early threes were an indication of what was to come from the Cyclones, as Iowa State hit 17 in the contest – one shy of matching the highest-total ever against Kansas – and launched up a KU opponent record 41 attempts from long range. Six of those threes came from Tyrus McGee, who scored 22 points on 8-of-15 shooting from the field.
Kansas used a lay-up by Naadir Tharpe with less than two seconds remaining in the first half to leave the court with a 41-40 advantage at the break.
In the second half, the Cyclones matched their biggest lead of the game on a three-pointer by Korey Lucious with 5:19 to play, making it 79-72. Again, Self would call a timeout and his team immediately responded. Johnson pushed the pace and started a KU run with a tough lay-up and then found Withey on a fastbreak to make it 79-76.
This time however, McGee landed a big three to stop the charge. A total of five ISU players reached double figures, including Lucious with 23. The Cyclones appeared to have extended one of the longest home win streaks in the country, and looked to remain undefeated at home before Johnson shocked the entire arena.
Kansas outscored Iowa State 18-6 in overtime to complete the regular season sweep.
Kansas returns to Allen Fieldhouse for back-to-back home games next weekend, starting with a nationally-televised game with West Virginia on CBS at 1 p.m. Saturday, then a match-up with Texas Tech on ESPNU Monday night. The Jayhawks have three games remaining in regular season play before the Big 12 Tournament in Kansas City (March 13-16).