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MBB Rally Falls Short at Kansas, 66-61

Jan 31, 2009

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Junior Dwight Thorne II scored 18 points and sophomore Cory Higgins added 15 points to help the University of Colorado men's basketball team nearly overcome a 21-point second half deficit in a 66-61 loss at Kansas, Saturday afternoon.


Colorado falls to 9-11 overall and 1-5 in the Big 12 in their first single digit loss against the Jayhawks (17-4, 6-0) since Jan. 31, 1999 (77-74).


"I thought we came out very tentative," said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik on the AM 760 post-game radio show. "We gave up offensive rebounds in the first half and had a lot of open shots that we didn't make. I thought we grew as a basketball team considerably. We got in our stance defensively, we attacked and played aggressively. We're getting better; we just have to keep growing as a team. I'm proud of this team because they battled back."


Higgins also grabbed five rebounds and five assists. Senior Jermyl Jackson-Wilson recorded 12 points and five rebounds, and freshmen Nate Tomlinson and Austin Dufault each scored seven points for the Buffs.


"We shot ourselves in the foot during the first half," said Higgins. "We tried to get some easy buckets to get us back in the game. We need to play with the desperate energy that we had in the second half. We're really confident right now and we have some quality games under our belt."

The Jayhawks led 45-21 at halftime and Kansas's Markieff Morris' 3-point play made it 46-25 less than a minute into the second half, however Higgins answered with five straight points.

A pair of free throws by Marcus Morris put Kansas on top 54-42, but Higgins made two straight steals and ignited an 8-0 run. Thorne's jumper off an inbounds play under the basket pulled the Buffaloes to 54-50 at the 8:18 mark.

At that point, the Buffs had hit 10 of 15 second-half shots from the field while the Jayhawks were going 5-for-17.

The lead shrank to 54-52 on Jackson-Wilson's bucket as Kansas was held without a field goal for more than 7 minutes. The Jayhawks, who had shot over 50 percent in 11 games, were only 21-for-51 (41 percent) from the floor.

Tomlinson's 3-pointer shaved the lead to 62-59 with 59 seconds left, Sherron Collins then put up two more points, making it 64-59. With seven seconds to go, Thorne's bucket made it 64-61.

In the second half, Colorado shot 65.2 percent on 15-of-23 shooting from the field.  Kansas was held to 33.3 percent shooting, making 8-of-24 field goals.


Colorado gave up a season-low seven turnovers. Kansas tallied 13 total turnovers.


Colorado returns home to host Nebraska (12-7, 2-4) on Wednesday, Feb. 4 at 8:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain.



Game Notes:

- Jackson-Wilson's five rebounds bring him to a career total of 389; he is in 38th on CU's all-time rebounding list.

- Tomlinson's two assists give him 56 for the season, he is 10th on CU's freshman list.

- Thorne led in scoring for the third time this year.

- Higgins led in assists for the eighth time this season, also the fifth game this year he's had five or more assists.