Campos Commentary: Kansas survives Purdue, advances to Sweet 16 (links, Detroit too)

Josh Campos, KC SportsNation

Kansas survived getting Hummeled by 10-seed Purdue, winning 63-60 despite leading for a grand total of 45 seconds.

Kansas closed the game with six straight points, rallying from a once 10-point second half deficit and survived Purdue’s sixth year senior Robbie Hummel’s 22-point first half barrage.

Purdue took a page out of the Missouri script for playing Kansas – one big, four out, as head coach Matt Painter elected to put the 6-8 swingman Hummel on Thomas Robinson. This worked wonders on both sides of the ball.

This game followed the recipe for upsetting Kansas: make an incredible percentage of 3’s, hold Kansas to a low 3 point percentage and field goal percentage, and make them play your game.

Mission accomplished.

But, it still was not enough. In fact, even though Kansas shot a woeful 33% – becoming the team with the lowest shooting percentage in NCAA Tournament history to win a game – they still managed to win.

The Boilermakers early on were able to convert on their first five Three-Point attempts – four from Hummel – jumping out to a 19-8 lead after scoring the game’s first eight points. Hummel scored 14 of his 22 in this opening flurry. Meanwhile Kansas began the game missing 15 of their first 17 shots and their first seven 3’s.

It was very apparent that the person to shoulder the “comeback” was not going to be Thomas Robinson as he given wave after wave of Purdue big men and was triple teamed whenever he touched the ball down low. Couple that with the fact that he was slowly being tired down by having to chase Robbie Hummel on the perimeter. In these cases, Tyshawn Taylor would be the next option to start the offense with his drives and perimeter shots, but he too was ineffective. Like the two previous Missouri games, Jeff Withey was neutralized and was not going to be a game changer in this game as he watched from the bench. This comeback was going to have to go through Elijah Johnson. Over the last month, Elijah Johnson has been the leading scorer or second leading scorer for the Jayhawks. He has also been a viable three-point threat.

Before the end of the first half, the Jayhawks were finally able to get their offense started and baskets started to fall and they were able to cut the lead to six at 36-30.

Dare we say comeback? The late run was cause for optimism but early on in the half the Boilermakers were able to extend the lead to 42-32.

Never fazed, the Jayhawks chipped away at the lead several times and were able to cut it on a few occasions to three points. Unlike other NCAA losses, they were never able to come all the way back and take the lead, taking their first one at the 3:01 mark, 57-56. Two minutes later, Purdue was back up 60-57.

Purdue (22-13) clinged to a 60-59 lead after Johnson tossed an alley-oop to Taylor. Just as he did the possession before, Boilers point guard Lewis Jackson dribbled down the shot clock, lost control at the top of the key when Johnson picked it up and went the other way for the go-ahead lay-in with 23.3 seconds left. Hummel missed an open 3-pointer at the other end and Taylor scored a transition dunk for the Jayhawks with 2.5 seconds left, when he should have just dribbled out the clock.

After a timeout, Purdue sharpshooter Ryne Smith managed to get off a decent look at a long, potential tying 3-pointer. It hit off the backboard, clanked off the rim and fell away.

Survive and advance.

“It stinks,” Painter said. “It stinks to lose.”

“We just kept grinding and grinding,” Taylor said, “and we ended up making some big plays down the stretch.”

Despite the constant hounding, Robinson recorded his 25th double-double of the season, with 11 points, 13 rebounds. He didn’t score his first basket until three minutes left in the first half.

“What a great game. It wasn’t the best played, but it was a grind-it-out, typical Big Ten game,” Self said. “Hummel was unbelievable and we just hung in there.”

Hummel scored just four second half points and finished with 26 points with nine rebounds, finishing a great career.

Now, Kansas moves on to play yet another double-digit seed in 11-seeded NC State in the Sweet 16 Friday night at 9:47 in St. Louis.

It will be Self’s seventh Sweet 16 appearance in nine years in Kansas and KU’s 15th since 1990.

Player of the Game: Johnson’s play in the last minute alone are worthy of this title. Add in his 18 points and this award is a no brainer.

Points 60 63
FG Made-Attempted 20-50 (.400) 21-62 (.339)
3P Made-Attempted 8-18 (.444) 6-24 (.250)
FT Made-Attempted 12-19 (.632) 15-23 (.652)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 16 (0/0) 18 (0/0)
Largest Lead 11 3

Game Leaders

Points R. Hummel 26 E. Johnson 18
Rebounds R. Hummel 9 T. Robinson 13
Assists L. Jackson 5 T. Taylor 4
Steals L. Jackson 1 T. Robinson 2
Blocks R. Hummel 1 J. Withey 2
Team Stats: Purdue | Kansas

Rock Chalk Talk: Recap of Purdue

KC Star: KU writes a happy ending this time

Lawrence Journal World: Switch stymies Robbie Hummel

Lawrence Journal World: Elijah Johnson comes up big for KU

Lawrence Journal World: KU overcomes 10-point, second-half deficit, defeats Purdue, 63-60

KC Star: Johnson saves KU in 63-60 comeback win over Purdue

Rock Chalk Talk: Kansas survives major scare from Purdue

KC Star: Jayhawks in good hands with Johnson

Lawrence Journal World: Robbie Hummel has KU’s respect


There was a lot of talk heading into Friday’s first round game that Detroit, featuring McDonald’s All-American Ray McCallum, could give KU troubles in Omaha as a 15-seed. Earlier in the night, 2-seed Mizzou lost to a 15 in the very same building. Duke was going down at the same time.

“That has nothing to do with this game,” Self said with a laugh.

The Titans are likely most famous for one thing; ESPN personality Dick Vitale was once their coach who led them to an NCAA tourney appearance. Had they pulled off an upset of KU, it would have been 2 things.

Early on, the Detroit energy on defense was too much to handle for the Jayhawks as bad passes by Kansas lead to easy dunks and layups for Detroit. Once Kansas was able to compose itself, the offense was able to work it inside to Thomas Robinson who finished with his 24th double-double with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Towards the end of the first half, the Jayhawks were able to extend their lead 23-21 lead with a half-closing 11-3 run to grab a 34-24 lead thanks in large part to Elijah Johnson’s three point shooting and the inability for the Detroit guards to stay in front of Tyshawn Taylor. It seemed as if the Jayhawks took the wind out of the sails of the Titans.

Kansas then – like you have to do against the underdogs – put them away in the first seven minutes of the second half as Kansas continued that run – what ended up being a 30-7 (19-4 to start the half) to take a 53-28.

The Kansas bench played an unusual amount of minutes not because of the blowout, but because at the 13 minute mark, Taylor left the game into the locker room and would never return. It was unknown until Self spoke on the postgame that he suffered from cramping due to cold medicines. As soon as he left, the Titans went on a 10-2 run. The lead would go down to 14 a couple of times but Kansas kept them at bay and held on for the 65-50 win.

Player of the Game: Elijah Johnson has chosen to play his best basketball of his career these past few weeks. He finished with 15 points, but its been his 3-point shooting that it really going to help the Jayhawks survive and advance.

Points 50 65
FG Made-Attempted 20-63 (.317) 23-50 (.460)
3P Made-Attempted 3-17 (.176) 5-16 (.313)
FT Made-Attempted 7-14 (.500) 14-23 (.609)
Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 21 (0/0) 17 (0/0)
Largest Lead 2 25
Points D. Anderson 15 T. Robinson 16
Rebounds E. Holman 11 T. Robinson 13
Assists R. McCallum 5 T. Robinson 2
Steals R. McCallum 3 T. Taylor 2
Blocks L. Lowe 3 J. Withey 5
Team Stats: Detroit | Kansas

Brian Graham contributed to this report.

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