Back on the court, Johnson provides spark in KU's second half surge

Nov. 20, 2010

Sophomore Elijah Johnson’s return to the Jayhawk line-up was a memorable one as the guard from Las Vegas tied a career high in points scored with his 11 against North Texas, Friday night at Allen Fieldhouse. Johnson did not play during the team’s first two games, but made up for lost time by scoring eight of his 11 points in the second half.

“It felt real good being out there with my teammates,” Johnson said. “It’s kind of different cheering from the sidelines, but it feels much better being out there with them.”

His teammates were happy to have No. 15 back in the line-up as Johnson poured in all of his eight second half points during a four-minute stretch that saw the Jayhawks take control of the game.

“It helped having Coach Self behind me and just encouraging me from the sideline,” Johnson said. “The whole game I just felt like nothing could stop me.”

The Mean Green from North Texas had trouble stopping Johnson along with teammate Brady Morningstar who both combined for 13 points and 6 assists in a 31-8 second half run.

“It just happens so fast,” Johnson said. “Coach Self told us to pick it up at halftime and play ball and so we did.”

Along with equaling his career high in total points, Johnson also tied his high water mark for successful three point shots with his two in the second half. Despite those impressive numbers, Johnson looked down the bench and across the court for motivation, rather than his stat sheet.

“I don’t really look at the stats, I just play,” he said. “It definitely felt good being out there but it felt better just doing things for my teammates. The dunk felt good but it felt much better when I passed that ball to T-Rob (Thomas Robinson) to try to dunk it.

Its games and performances like these that can help Johnson build his confidence as the schedule gets even tougher heading into conference play.”

“I don’t look at myself as `the’ shooter but I can make open shots when I’m supposed to,” he said. “If you kick the ball out to me I know I can, it’s just all about getting the opportunity.”

Another one of those opportunities will come Tuesday night as Johnson and the Jayhawks will look to stay undefeated on the young season as they entertain Texas A&M Corpus Christi at Allen Fieldhouse.