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The Dagger: College Basketball Blog

Elijah Johnson apologizes for unsportsmanlike game-ending dunk

Jeff Eisenberg
The Dagger

Before he discussed everything he did right in perhaps the most impressive performance of his college career, Kansas senior Elijah Johnson addressed maybe the only mistake he made Monday night.

Johnson opened his postgame press conference after Kansas' 108-96 overtime victory over Iowa State by saying he was sorry for the fast-break tomahawk dunk he needlessly threw down just before the final buzzer. The dunk drew boos from already frustrated Iowa State fans who felt it would have been more sportsmanlike of Johnson to merely dribble out the clock.

"I want to apologize to the coach of Iowa State for the last play. I shouldn’t have dunked," Johnson told reporters. "I should have dribbled it out. I got caught up in the moment."

Credit Johnson for atoning for his mistake by apologizing for it immediately. It was the proper response, especially since the Jayhawks were critical of Oklahoma State guard Marcus Smart after he punctuated a Cowboys' victory in Lawrence earlier this season by performing an acrobatic back flip on the Jayhawks' center court logo.

Johnson's dunk was similar in that he allowed the emotion of a meaningful victory to lead to an immature decision. The senior guard sank game-tying free throws with five seconds left in regulation and scored 11 of his career-high 39 points in overtime to lead Kansas to a come-from-behind road victory.

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