Elijah Johnson

Late Night Snacks: Johnson drops 39 for Kansas, Seton Hall shocks ‘Nova

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Everyone say it with me: ELIJAH JOHNSON! The Kansas guard highlighted the night by going off in a tough road environment at Iowa State and did so in the game of the night between the Cyclones and Jayhawks. A few good games in the Big 12 and Big East made for an interesting evening on the hardwood. It’s Late Night Snacks.

Game of the Night

No. 6 Kansas 108, Iowa State 96 (OT) – Game of the night by a wide margin. Iowa State hung in with the Jayhawks thanks to great three-point shooting (hit 17-of-35 through regulation), hitting 29-of-34 free throws and limiting turnovers (committed just seven). Unfortunately, they couldn’t stop Elijah Johnson (see below) and a crucial late-game foul went against them on Georges Niang. As a result, Kansas earns the regular-season sweep of the Cyclones. In the process, Bill Self picked up his 500th win. That’s how big the game was, Self’s 500th was a sidebar.

Games of Note

Seton Hall 66, Villanova 65 – Fuquan Edwin hit a three with 10 seconds left and Ryan Arcidiacono missed a three at the buzzer to allow the Pirates to earn one of the most surprising wins in a few days. Aaron Cosby scored 21 points for Seton Hall. The loss is a major hit to the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament hopes, even with wins over Marquette, Syracuse and Louisville.

No. 13 Kansas State 75, Texas Tech 55 – K-State got to 23 wins on the season with a win over the Red Raiders. Thomas Gipson scored 20 in the win for the Wildcats, who are having a more-than impressive season in their first year under Bruce Weber.

Central Connecticut State 67, Quinnipiac 65 – The best mid-major game of the night, with Kyle Vinales hitting a three with six seconds left to give the Blue Devils the win and get them back to .500 in Northeast Conference play and drop the Bobcats to 10-6 in the NEC.

Starred

Elijah Johnson, Kansas – This section was made for performances like Johnson’s. The senior point guard, who has be much maligned all season by coach Bill Self, had arguably his best game as a Jayhawk at Iowa State. He averages 9.1 points per game, but dropped 39 points on 13-of-22 shooting, hit 6-of-10 three-pointers, all seven of his free throws and a bonkers three in overtime from 26 feet with the shot clock running out to seal the win. Bravo.

Davante Gardner, Marquette – Poured in a season-high 26 points and hit 12-of-13 free throws in the Golden Eagles’ win over Syracuse at home. For more on why Gardner is so essential to Marquette’s success, click here.

Kyle Vinales, Central Connecticut State – He scored 17 points, but Vinales hit a three with six seconds left to push the Blue Devils past Quinnipiac.

Dyami Starks, Bryant/Shane Gibson, Sacred Heart – The duo squared off against each other in Bryant’s 84-68 win, but they combined for 55 points. Gibson, who averages 20.8 points on the year, scored 30 on 12-of-19 shooting, including 5-of-10 from three. Starks, who has helped lead possibly the greatest mid-major turnaround besides Towson’s rise this season, had 25 on 10-of-14 shooting, hitting 4-of-6 threes himself.

Struggled

Brandon Triche, Syracuse – Scored eight points on 4-of-10 shooting and committed three turnovers in the loss to Marquette. He’s averaging 14.7 points on the season.

Stuffing the Stat Sheet

Angel Rodriguez, Kansas State – The sophomore guard helped the Wildcats out away Texas Tech late and had a complete game in doing so, finishing with a line of 16 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals.

Follow David Harten on Twitter at @David_Harten

WATCH LIVE: Hofstra travels to Delaware on NBCSN

James Madison forward Yohanny Dalembert (40) prepares to shoot against Hofstra forward Rokas Gustys, behind, during the first half of an NCAA basketball game in Harrisonburg, Va., Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016. (Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP) MANDATORY CREDIT
(Daniel Lin/Daily News-Record via AP)
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Hofstra tries to keep pace with the conference’s elite as they travel to Delaware on Saturday afternoon. You can watch this CAA battle live on NBCSN at 5:00 p.m. EST.

The Pride (17-8, 9-4) are currently two games behind conference leader UNC-Wilmington and they’re trying to make a run to close out the season. Senior guard Juan’ya Green leads the Pride in points (17.7 ppg), assists (7 apg) and steals (1.8 spg) and he’s surrounded by a dangerous supporting cast.

Delaware (6-18, 1-12) had lost 15 consecutive games before beating Drexel in their last game. The Blue Hens have struggled in CAA play but Kory Holden (17.5 ppg, 4 apg) will try to help lead the upset.

These two teams met on Dec. 31 with Hofstra winning that one, 90-80, at home.

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Saturday afternoon.

Michigan gets Caris LeVert back in a win over No. 18 Purdue

Purdue forward Caleb Swanigan (50) tries to steal the ball from Michigan guard Caris LeVert (23) in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game at Crisler Center in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016. (AP Photo/Tony Ding)
(AP Photo/Tony Ding)
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Zak Irvin scored 22 points and Michigan’s outmanned front line held Purdue’s redwoods to just seven offensive boards, six second chance points and just 22 points in the paint as the Wolverines landed a critical, 61-56, win over the No. 18 Boilermakers.

Depending on who you listen to, Michigan entered the day, at worst, on the bubble and at best, in headed for the 8-9 game.

And they picked up a top 25 win.

So yes, this win was big for them moving forward.

But more important than the win itself was that Wolverine fans got a glimpse of all-american guard Caris LeVert. He played just 11 points and didn’t return in the second half, he didn’t score and he missed the only shot that he took, but LeVert took the court for the first time since Dec. 30th. That day, LeVert rolled his left ankle and most likely reinjured a foot that had had a broken bone surgically repaired twice in the last 20 months. Michigan never confirmed what the actual injury was and never gave a timetable for when he would be back in the lineup, which is what made his brief appearance so important.

LeVert isn’t done for the season.

And since the Wolverines managed to post a 9-4 Big Ten record with LeVert acting as little more than a spectator, they have a chance to make a run in the Big Ten tournament and get into the NCAA tournament.

That will happen with LeVert in the rotation and, if all goes according to plan, the starting lineup.

So even with a loss against Purdue, the Wolverines had a good day. Bolstering their NCAA tournament profile was an added bonus.