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October 12, 2012

Johnson more comfortable as a senior

With 16,300 fans cheering on, Bill Self and the University of Kansas men's basketball program officially kicked off the 2012-13 season on Friday night.

Following an evening of skits, dance routes and, an impressive performance from a trio of BMX riders, a comical session of "C'mon man", which featured Kansas coaches Kurtis Townsend, Norm Roberts and Barry Collier, and a number of other entertaining performances, the 16,300 fans packed inside Allen Fieldhouse on Friday night witnessed something special.

While several hindered fans outside Allen Fieldhouse were turned away before the final act took place, those fans inside witnessed the unveiling of KU's eighth straight Big 12 regular season championship banner, along with last year's Final Four banner. At the conclusion of the ceremony, which included the famous "Dream On" video, the 2012-13 team was introduced.

Nearly three hours had passed before Fridays 20 minute scrimmage took place, but for those on hand, it was certainly worth the wait. Senior guard Elijah Johnson scored a game-high 11 points on 4-of-7 shooting from the field and was 3-of-6 from behind the arc.

Not wanting to be outdone, senior center Jeff Withey chipped in 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds. At the end of the Fridays 20 minute scrimmage, the Crimson team defeated the Blue squad, 36-28.

Johnson (11), Withey (10), Perry Ellis (6), Justin Wesley (4), Rio Adams (3), and Travis Releford (2) led the way for the Crimson team.

Kevin Young scored a team-high nine points for the Blue team. For the scrimmage, he shot 3-of-4 from the field, 1-of-1 from behind the arc and was 2-of-4 from the free-throw line. Ben McLemore and Jamari Traylor scored six points each, Landen Lucas finished with five points, and Andrew White tallied two points.

Minutes after Fridays scrimmage, Johnson talked about participating in his final Late Night in the Phog.

"It was fast," said Johnson. "It went by real fast. I felt like it was a good closing for me, as far as late nights go. I always feel confident, but I'm just starting to get comfortable. I'm not starting to get comfortable, but I'm just way more comfortable now.

"The biggest key for us this year is to reach our high expectations," he added. "For us, that's the biggest key."


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