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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.

Elijah Johnson apologizes for dunking at end of Iowa State game (Video)

Elijah JohnsonElijah Johnson erupted for 39 points in Kansas’ 108-96 overtime win over Iowa State Monday, and he apologized after the game for a poor show of sportsmanship.

With his Jayhawks up by 10 and less than 10 seconds left, Johnson was passed the ball after Iowa State missed a three pointer. Instead of dribbling out the remaining seconds, Johnson decided to go the length of the court and threw down a dunk with 2.5 seconds left. The players on the Jayhawks bench erupted in celebration, and Johnson chest-bumped with a teammate after the monster throwdown.

Kansas coach Bill Self was unhappy with the unnecessary dunk from Johnson. He could be seen apologizing to Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg in the postgame handshakes, saying something along the lines of “I’m sorry about that, he shouldn’t have dunked the ball like that.”

Self also apparently spoke with Johnson about it. Johnson revealed that to ESPN’s Holly Rowe in his postgame interview.

“I gotta show better sportsmanship,” Johnson admitted to Rowe. “I shouldn’t have dunked that ball at the end of the game. I wasn’t really thinking clearly. I saw an open basket and all day I’ve been driving, so I figured why not drive since it was open, but I definitely should have dribbled it out.”

Johnson’s 39-point game obliterated his previous career high of 26. He nailed two huge threes to keep Kansas in the game in the final minute, and he benefited from a controversial no-call that led to the game going to overtime.

The win also gave Self his 500th career victory.