Buffs Fall to No. 2 Kansas, 72-59
BOULDER -- Richard Roby scored a game-high 22 points and Marcus Hall added 13, however the second-ranked Kansas pulled away in the second half with 61 percent shooting from the from the field for a 72-59 victory over Colorado here Saturday afternoon.
"We played hard and we competed, we just came up short," said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "Give Kansas credit, they worked hard and erased our lay up opportunities. We started the second half 0-for-6 and that allowed them to gain separation. We turned the ball over a few times early and later in the game we got fatigued because of our lack of depth. They have great depth and they use it well. We looked a step slow late in the game on a few plays."
Darnell Jackson hit a team-high 18 points for the Jayhawks, in KU's first game since their perfect season was ended by Kansas State.
Brandon Rush added 15 points and Sasha Kaun 12 for the Jayhawks (21-1, 6-1 Big 12), who had a hard time shaking off the doldrums from their first loss of the season, an 84-75 shocker to their in-state rival Wednesday night.
The Jayhawks' lead was just 51-48 with less than nine minutes remaining.
They trailed most of the first half and went into the locker room tied at 30 despite outrebounding the shorter Buffaloes 18-9 and outscoring Colorado 9-1 from the free throw line.
But they held the Buffs (9-12, 1-6) scoreless for more than five minutes to start the second half and used an 8-0 run to take control.
Jackson started it off with a turnaround jumper and two free throws, then Darrell Arthur added a jumper and Mario Chalmers capped the spurt with a steal and dunk that made it 38-30.
Although Colorado kept chipping away over the next 10 minutes, the Jayhawks never surrendered the lead.
Roby hit a 3-pointer to pull Colorado to 38-35 but the Jayhawks responded by finally getting back to the kind of basketball that led to 20 straight wins to start the season.
Jackson's alley-oop dunk capped an 8-2 run that made it 46-37.
The Buffs wouldn't go away, cutting the deficit to three points at 51-48 on Roby's fadeaway jumper, but the Jayhawks, now loosened up, had an answer for every run the Buffs made.
Rush's slam dunk off a steal gave the Jayhawks their first double figure lead at 62-50 with under seven minutes remaining, as the Jayhawks closed out the game on a 21-11 run.
The Jayhawks only loss in their last 38 games against Colorado was a 60-59 stunner in Boulder on Jan. 22, 2003.
Guard Xavier Silas, the Buffs' third-leading scorer at 10.2 points, didn't start and never came off the bench for Colorado, which lost its fifth straight and for the seventh time in eight games.
The Buffaloes were coming off a loss at Iowa State in which they scored just 19 second-half points, their worst performance in a Big 12 game, and went the final 10 minutes without a basket. They had an easier time than Kansas of putting that loss behind, jumping out to a 7-2 lead Saturday and maintaining the edge until Kaun's hook shot with 5:31 left in the half gave Kansas its first lead at 24-23.
Kaun's shot capped an 8-0 run as the Jayhawks began to exploit their superior height and quickness. Roby ended the run with a spectacular dunk in which he skied over three defenders in the lane for a right-handed slam that brought the crowd back into it.
Reserve guard Sherron Collins hurt his right knee when he was driving to the basket and was stripped by Dwight Thorne midway through the first half for his fourth turnover in six minutes. He returned after halftime and scored nine of his team's final 12 points.
Cory Higgins had 11 points for Colorado, which was out-rebounded 34-21. Kansas sank 21-of-25 foul shots to the Buffs' 6-of-10, as several questionable calls went in the Jayhawks favor in the second half.
The last time the Buffs upset a second-ranked team was Feb. 12, 1992, when they beat Oklahoma State 57-53.
Colorado will take to the road to play Oklahoma State on Wednesday, Feb. 6 at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain.