Elijah Johnson Steps Up As Kansas Handles Oklahoma State

LAWRENCE KS - FEBRUARY 21: Markieff Morris #21 of the Kansas Jayhawks dunks during the game against the Oklahoma State Cowboys on February 21 2011 at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence Kansas. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Kansas got some good news and some bad news headed into Monday nights game against Oklahoma State.  Thomas Robinson would return to the court ahead of schedule, but the Jayhawks would be without the services of junior guard Tyshawn Taylor due to suspension.  As for the performance on the court, Monday night was all good news for the Jayhawks as they cruised past an overmatched Oklahoma State Cowboy team.

In the first half the Jayhawks were paced by the Morris twins and specificially Marcus Morris who's 17 points on 6 of 9 shooting was a major reason for the 24 point Kansas lead at the half.  In place of Taylor, Kansas went to sophomore guard Elijah Johnson who along with the other Kansas guards stepped up the defensive effort and did an excellent job of sharing the basketball on the offensive end.  The result was a pretty clean, crisp first half of basketball with more than enough in the way of positive takeaways. 

The second half provided more of the same and while most of the mystery surrounding the result of this one was already lost it was certainly an opportunity for the Jayhawks to fine tune their game. Marcus Morris continued his dominance early, but with a sizable lead Bill Self was able to work in Mario Little. With Taylor out and a solid lead Self allowed Selby and Johnson to work through some of their struggles and hopefully that time provides a little more confidence and trust as this team heads into the postseason.

All in all it was a very good all around effort with perhaps the only concern being the interior defense with Oklahoma State's Marshall Moses having a career night on the inside.  Kansas wins by a final score of 92-65.  The Jayhawks were led by Marcus Morris who finished with 27 points and 5 rebounds.  Brother Markieff added 15 and 7, while Elijah Johnson turned in a notable performance in place of Taylor and certainly made a strong argument for more playing time down the stretch with.  Johnson scored a career high 15 points including a perfect 4 for 4 effort from beyond the arc.

Next up for Kansas is Oklahoma in Norman on Saturday.  A long week to prepare for a game that doesn't inspire much motivation.  Hopefully the Jayhawks can find a way to carry over their intensity from Colorado and Oklahoma State into Norman.

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