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Kansas' Johnson scores 39 in Self's 500th win

The SportsXchange

AMES, Iowa -- Win No. 500 was one Kansas coach Bill Self will never forget.

Self reached the career milestone in dramatic fashion Monday night at a hostile Hilton Coliseum, where the sixth-ranked Jayhawks rallied to defeat Iowa State 108-96 in overtime.

Self got an assist from senior point guard Elijah Johnson, who scored the Jayhawks' final eight points of regulation and their first four of overtime before finishing with 39. That represented a career high for Johnson, who just a few weeks ago was mired in a miserable slump.

"He's had such an up-and-down senior year in part due to health and never complains or makes excuses and takes the criticism from our fans that do dish out the criticism, and he just keeps moving," Self said. "He deserved to have a night like tonight."

Johnson forced overtime by hitting two free throws with 4.9 seconds remaining.

With time ticking down and the Jayhawks trailing by two, Johnson drove to the basket and slammed into Iowa State's Georges Niang. Officials didn't call a block or a charge but whistled Niang for a foul as he scrambled for the rebound, allowing Johnson to tie the game at the foul line.

"I guess I can't get too far into that call," Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg said. "It is what it is. It happened. You've got move past it. I thought Georges made a heck of a play by stepping in there and drawing contact, but hey, it happens in this game. It didn't go our way."

The Jayhawks dominated the overtime session thanks in large part to Johnson, who scored 30 of his points after halftime. The dagger was a deep 3-pointer that came at the end of the shot clock after the Cyclones pulled within four with a minute remaining in OT.

"It felt real good," Johnson said. "I felt like I haven't shot the ball as good as I can shoot, period. It felt good to see it going in."

Johnson's 39 points were the most for a Kansas player in the Big 12 era.

"Wilt (Chamberlain) had some pretty good ones, but that will go down as one of the better games that any guard has ever played at Kansas," Self said.

As for his own milestone, Self said he hadn't taken much time to reflect.

"I don't think it really means that much," he said. "I'm glad to have got it. It means I've been doing it a while and I'm not a young guy."

Kansas survived torrid outside shooting from the Cyclones, who hit 17 of 41 3-point attempts. Tyus McGee led the barrage, scoring 22 points and hitting six of 10 shots from behind the arc. Korie Lucious added 23 points and three 3-pointers.

The Jayhawks also were hot from long distance, making 13 of 25 3-point tries.

The victory allowed Kansas (24-4, 12-3 Big 12) to keep pace with Kansas State atop conference standings. Iowa State (19-9, 9-6) saw its 22-game home winning streak end.

Monday night's game pitted the Big 12's best offense against the best defense, and offense prevailed in the first half.

The half ended with Naadir Tharpe dribbling uncontested to the rim for a lay-in that put Kansas on top 41-40, marking the eighth lead change in a closely contested game.

The Cyclones, who lead the nation in made 3-pointers per game, buried six in the first half on 15 attempts. Iowa State shot 38 percent from the field in the half, and Kansas was at 47 percent.

Self drew a quick technical foul, much to the delight of a sellout crowd at Hilton Coliseum. Iowa State seized the momentum and built an early seven-point lead, but the Jayhawks rallied to reclaim the lead on a runner from Johnson with 12:35 remaining in the half.

NOTES: Self reached the 500-win milestone in 662 games, which ties him with former Temple coach John Chaney for the ninth fastest among Division I coaches. Self, in his 20th year as a head coach, joined Jerry Tarkanian, Roy Williams and John Calipari as the only coaches to reach 500 wins in 20 seasons or fewer. ... Iowa State's home winning streak was tied for the second-longest streak in school history. It was also the third-longest active streak in the nation. ... Iowa State entered the game leading the nation in 3-pointers made per game at 9.6 and total 3-pointers made at 260. The Cyclones also ranked fifth nationally in scoring at 79.5 points per game. ... Kansas ranked No. 1 nationally in field-goal percentage defense at 35.5 percent and No. 3 in blocks per game at 6.8 before Monday.
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