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.
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.
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