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Friday, November 28, 2014

Elijah Johnson’s final game for Kansas was one to forget

Elijah Johnson may need a lot of time to get over this one.

Johnson played his final collegiate game Friday, and his mistakes in Kansas’ 87-85 overtime loss to Michigan will be remembered.
Elijah Johnson nut punch
Johnson committed three fouls in the first half against the Wolverines and saw limited minutes. He was even called for a flagrant foul after punching a Michigan player in the groin (pictured) in the first few minutes of the game. The mistakes continued from there.

Johnson missed the first free throw on a one-and-one with his team up 76-73 and 13 seconds left. The miss allowed Michigan’s Trey Burke to make an incredible tying 3-pointer that sent the game to overtime.

Then, in overtime, Kansas was down by two and Johnson drove to the basket in the final seconds. Inexplicably, he passed up a layup and kicked outside to Naadir Thorpe who missed a difficult three to end the game.

“I thought he could get to the rim,” coach Bill Self said of Johnson’s last possession. “We set a little fake ball screen … and he was able to get his shoulders past him, but for whatever reason he veered behind the backboard and didn’t give himself a shot. That’s when he threw the ball back to [Thorpe].”

Self said after the game that he was considering having his team take a three to win it, but they decided driving to the hoop would be the sounder move.

“To lose a game this way, I know our guys are just crushed,” said Self. “This is going to be a tough one to get over for a long time.”

Johnson’s final numbers don’t look too bad — 4-of-8 for 13 points — but his missed free throw could have iced the game, his five fouls were costly, and he had no assists and five turnovers. Unfortunately for Johnson, he will have to walk away from the collegiate game on this poor note.



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