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Johnson’s 39-point night saves Kansas, Self in OT

AMES, Iowa — Kansas coach Bill Self has 500 wins because Elijah Johnson “blacked out.”

That’s the only way Johnson could describe one of the great performances by a Kansas player under Self.

Johnson, a senior guard from Las Vegas scored a career-high 39 points — eight in the final 29 seconds of regulation and 12 in overtime — and No. 6 Kansas rallied to beat Iowa State 108-96 on Monday for Self’s milestone victory.

Self, who began his coaching career at Oral Roberts, is 293-57 at Kansas and 500-162 overall.

Travis Releford added 19 points for the Jayhawks (24-4, 12-3 Big 12), who snapped Iowa State’s 22-game home winning streak and kept pace with No. 13 Kansas State atop the Big 12.

“(Johnson) was unbelievable. He was the best player in the country tonight,” Self said of the Cheyenne High product. “That will go down as one of the better games that any guard has ever played at Kansas.”

It’s hard to remember a more clutch 5½ minutes of basketball by anyone on any team this season.

Johnson made two 3s and added two free throws with 4.9 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 90. He and Releford hit 3s to put Kansas ahead 100-92 with 2:03 left in overtime, and Johnson drilled a 30-footer with 54 seconds left that deflated a sellout crowd.

Johnson said a personal conversation with Self on the bench put him in a zone that doomed the Cyclones.

“It was a locker room type of conversation. It just happened to happen during a game. I feel like that kind of set some fire through my body,” Johnson said. “My teammates saw me responding.”

After the game, a handful of those in the student section hurled small plastic megaphones at the Jayhawks as they ran back to their locker room. The anger seemed directed at Johnson’s dunk with two seconds left and the game in hand.

After the game, Johnson apologized to Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg, saying: “I shouldn’t have dunked that ball.”

Korie Lucious scored 23 points, and Tyrus McGee had 22 for the Cyclones (19-9, 9-6).

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