Elijah Johnson's Clutch Basket Leads Kansas To 60-57 Win Over NC State As Jayhawks Advance To Elite 8
March 24, 2012
ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Elijah Johnson was clutch for Kansas for the second-straight game. Johnson cut down the lane for a layup with 13.5 seconds left to secure Kansas’ 60-57 win over North Carolina State at the Edward Jones Dome in Friday evening’s NCAA Midwest Regional Semifinal action.
KU advanced to the NCAA Regional Finals for the second-straight season where it will face top-seeded North Carolina on Sunday afternoon at 4:05 p.m., on CBS.
With KU clinging to a one-point lead, Tyshawn Taylor found Johnson streaking to the basket on an out of bounds play. Johnson’s basket gave Kansas a three-point lead and KU was able to keep NC State from scoring in the final 13.5 seconds of the game to hold on for the win.
While Johnson came up big in the final seconds of the game, Thomas Robinson was huge all evening for the Jayhawks collecting his single-season school record 26th double-double with 18 points and 15 boards. Robinson passed Drew Gooden, who previously held the record for his 25 double-doubles during the 2001-02 season.
Kansas opened the second half with a 12-2 run turning a one point deficit into a nine-point advantage in less than four minutes of play. The run, which saw all five starters contribute, allowed KU to take control of the game for the majority of the second half of play. The Jayhawks led 50-40 on a dunk by Jeff Withey with 11 minutes to play in the game but NC State slowly started chipping away at the lead.
A layup by Taylor with 3:46 to go gave KU a 58-50 lead, but it would be the final points for Kansas until Johnson’s heroic bucket. NC State got a basket from C.J. Leslie and then Scott Wood knocked down three free throws after getting fouled on a three-point attempt from the wing.
On the Jayhawks’ next possession, Taylor turned the ball over which led to a dunk by NC State’s C.J. Williams. Williams’ dunk with 1:28 left on the clock would mark the end of the scoring for the Wolfpack as the teams traded empty possessions before Johnson’s layup marked the final basket of the game.
Johnson finished the game with 11 points as he and Robinson were KU’s lone players in double figures. Withey had eight points to go along with 10 blocks, which tied a KU single-game record for blocks in an NCAA Tournament game.
Taylor struggled offensively, making just 2-of-14 shots from the field, but made up for it by pulling down a career-best 10 rebounds. He also added six points, five assists and three steals in the win.
Leslie led the Wolfpack with 18 points, while Wood had 12 and Lorenzo Brown and Williams each chipped in 10 points. Richard Howell pulled down a game-high 16 rebounds for NC State.
KU finished the game shooting 37.5 percent from the field, but hit just 1-of-14 shots from beyond the arc. The Jayhawks compensated by outscoring NC State 44-22 in the paint.
Kansas held NC State to just 28.4 percent shooting from the field. The Wolfpack made just 7-of-32 second-half shot attempts.
NC State came out of the gates quickly getting five-straight points on a put back by Howell and a three by Brown. KU senior guard Taylor got Kansas on the board with one free throw, but Leslie scored four points for the Wolfpack giving NC State a 9-1 lead three and half minutes into the opening period.
Following a KU timeout, Robinson hit a hook shot to trim the deficit to six points, but Williams came down and knocked down a three for the Wolfpack and Leslie connected on one foul shot to extend the NC State to 10 points at 13-3.
Kevin Young then entered the lineup for the Jayhawks providing the spark they needed to get going. Kansas went on a 20-4 run over the next seven and half minutes of action to forge a 23-17 lead. In the midst of the 20-4 run were a 6-0 run fueled by two put backs from Young and a 10-0 run that included seven points scored by Robinson.
Leslie scored back-to-back buckets for the Wolfpack to end the Kansas run and pull NC State back to within two points with six minutes to play in the first period. KU senior guard Conner Teahan scored and added a free throw on a follow shot to push the KU lead back to four points at 26-22, but Brown hit his second three of the half for NC State cutting the lead back down to just one point.
After the two teams traded baskets, a one handed shot down low by Robinson gave Kansas a 32-28 lead, but NC State would score the final five points of the half to take a 33-32 advantage into the locker room.
Withey was huge for the Jayhawks defensively in the opening period, collecting seven blocks and altering several other NC State shots. Withey’s seven blocks marked the most for a Kansas player in a half since 1974.
Robinson paced KU in the first half with 11 points and nine boards. Teahan followed with five points, while Young and Johnson each chipped in four points in the opening period. Leslie was the top scorer for NC State with 12 first half tallies.
Both teams struggled from the field in the first half with KU making 34.2 percent from the floor and NC State knocking down 33.3 percent of its shots. The Jayhawks were 0-of-8 from beyond the arc, while the Wolfpack hit 4-of-9 from three in the first half.
Kansas will take on North Carolina looking to advance to the Final Four for the 14th time in program history and the first time since winning the 2008 National Championship.