Elijah Johnson Wills Kansas To 63-60 Win Over Purdue As Jayhawks Advance To NCAA Sweet 16
March 18, 2012
OMAHA, Neb. – Kansas led Purdue for a total of 45 seconds of game time, but was ahead when it mattered most–at the end. Jayhawk junior guard Elijah Johnsongot a steal and the go ahead layup as Kansas clawed its way back from a nine-point second half deficit to forge a 63-60 win over the Boilermakers in the 2012 NCAA Championship Third Round at the CenturyLink Center Sunday evening.
Kansas advances to the Sweet 16 for the second straight season and fifth time in the last six seasons. The Jayhawks will take on North Carolina State on Friday, March 23 at St. Louis’ Edward Jones Dome.
Johnson was outstanding in the second half of play for Kansas. The Las Vegas, Nev., native scored 13 of his 18 points in the final frame, making 5-of-6 shots from the field, including both of his attempts from beyond the arc. His second three of the final period gave Kansas its first lead of the game at 57-56 with three minutes left to play.
Purdue, who had led the entire 37 minutes of the game prior to Johnson’s triple, came right back with two buckets by Teron Johnson to reclaim a three point lead at 60-57 with two minutes left on the clock.
The two teams traded empty possessions before Johnson snagged a rebound and fed it up ahead to a streaking Tyshawn Taylorfor an alley oop dunk. With Kansas trailing 60-59, Purdue ran the clock down to 26 seconds, but Johnson forced Purdue’s Lewis Jackson into a turnover. Johnson stole the ball and raced down the court putting Kansas ahead for good with a layup.
On the ensuing possession, Purdue again milked the clock for 15 seconds before getting the ball to their senior star Robbie Hummel who’s three was short. Thomas Robinsonhauled in the rebound, his 13th of the game, and fed it to Taylor who dunked it with 2.5 seconds remaining for the final margin of 63-60.
Johnson led the Jayhawks with 18 points, while Robinson (11), Taylor (10) and Travis Releford (10) each finished in double figures. Robinson’s 13 rebounds led all players on the boards, while Kevin Youngpulled down seven rebounds and Releford had six in leading KU to a 44-36 advantage over PU in rebounding.
Kansas won on a night they had a hard time putting the ball into the bucket. The Jayhawks shot just 33.9 percent from the field for the game, including a 6-of-25 effort from three-point range. Kansas found its edge over the Boilermakers in fast break points out-scoring Purdue 12-0.
Hummel led all scorers in his final collegiate game with 26 points. He also led Purdue with nine rebounds. D.J. Byrd and Terone Johnson each chipped in 10 points in the loss, with Johnson pulling down eight caroms.
Purdue finished the game shooting 40.0 percent from the field after the KU defense held the Boilermakers to just 8-of-28 shooting in the second half. Purdue made 7-of-10 threes in the first half, but managed just 1-of-8 in the second period.
The Jayhawks dug themselves a hole early as they struggled from the field and had a difficult time matching up with Purdue’s smaller frontcourt. The Boilermakers jumped out a quick 8-0 lead behind five points from Hummel and a three from Byrd.
Releford finally got the Jayhawks on the board with a jumper, but Hummel was right back at with a three on the other end giving Purdue an 11-2 advantage four minutes into the game. Kansas countered with three points of its own with a free throw by Robinson and a bucket in the lane from Taylor, but it Purdue again responded with a three-pointer, this time by Byrd.
Releford scored on a foul shot, but Hummel came right back with another three for Purdue, his third of the first half. After Taylor and Hummel traded baskets, KU got five unanswered points from Releford pulling the Jayhawks to within six points at 19-13 at the midway point of the opening period.
Purdue extended the lead back to nine points on a layup down the middle of the lane from from Travis Carroll. Kansas then went on a 17-8 run over the next six minutes. Kansas got three-point baskets from Conner Teahan, Naadir Tharpe and Johnson during the run as KU cut the lead down to just one point at 31-30 on Justin Wesleyfoul shot with 3:19 left in the opening frame.
Purdue scored the final five points of the half on a jumper by Jackson and a deep three from Hummel as the shot clock expired, as the Boilermakers took a 36-30 advantage into the break.
Hummel dominated the first half of play pouring in 22 points and pulling down six boards for the Boilermakers. He opened the game on fire making his first four shots before recording a miss. The Valparaiso, Ind., native did most of his damage from outside as he made 5-of-6 shots from beyond the arc.
Purdue was hot as a team from downtown in the opening frame as the Boilermakers connected on 7-of-10 from long range. Purdue made 12-of-22 shots from the field in the first half, good for 54.5 percent overall.
Kansas struggled from the floor in the first half making just 10-of-34 shots (29.4 percent). The Jayhawks made 4-of-16 from beyond the arc and 6-of-12 from the charity stripe. KU did help itself by out-rebounding Purdue 23-19, including a 15-6 advantage on the offensive glass.
Kansas improved to 29-6 on the season and is now 4-0 in Omaha’s CenturyLink Center. The loss ended Purdue’s season at 22-13.