Before Elijah Johnson was the goat in Kansas’ loss to Michigan in the Sweet 16 last month, he was the hero as he scored 39 points — including eight in a 32 second span to force overtime — in a 108-96 win over Iowa State in Hilton Coliseum.
It was, without a doubt, one of the most impressive individual performances of the season, not only because of what Johnson did — all told, he scored 18 points and was responsible for all 21 in a game-winning, 21-9 run that spanned the end of regulation and the start of overtime — but because it came at a time when Johnson was mired in just a horrific shooting slump.
Perhaps what made the game all the more memorable was that the Kansas win was aided by a blown call at the end of regulation. Georges Niang appeared to have drawn a clear charge, but was called for a block that changed the outcome of the game. Two officials were eventually disciplined for it. It was a big deal.
And it caused us to overlook another talking point in the game: Johnson’s final bucket came on a breakaway dunk in the final seconds after Iowa State had conceded. Cyclone fans were not happy, and police were forced in investigate death threats sent towards Johnson.
After the buzzer sounded, there was even one Iowa State fan that appeared to confront Bill Self.
And Self let Johnson know about it in the team banquet: