By Mark Janssen
MANHATTAN, Kan. - For the first time in Colorado history, a Buffalo basketball team has consecutive wins over ranked teams. Saturday, CU defeated No. 8 Missouri in the Rockies, 89-76; Wednesday in the Flint Hills, CU defeated No. 21 K-State, 74-66.
It was also the Buffs first-ever victory over a ranked team on the road in 31 tries.
"That's awesome to be the first, but we're trying for a lot of firsts," said CU senior Cory Higgins. "This is a whole new Colorado team."
CU coach Tad Boyle added, "What makes this win special is the respect I have for this (K-State) program and coach Frank Martin. We're not hoopin' and hollarin' because we beat a bad team, we beat a good team tonight."
The tough to figure Wildcats remained just that, tough to figure, after their fourth loss in the last seven games.
"It hurt a lot," said senior Jacob Pullen. "I had never lost to Colorado. No disrespect to them, but I always felt we had the better team. Losing to them hurt us a lot."
Summing up the loss, Pullen said, "Simple lackadaisical plays hurt us a lot."
Rodney McGruder added, "We just don't have everything together right now. We're still looking on finding a leader and we're not coming together as a team."
Coach Frank Martin said Wednesday's play was a result of "...too much drama on our basketball team. We're not very disciplined and we have a difficult time getting through the tough moments. That's my job to get this team more disciplined on the job at hand.
"We got out-toughed, out-played, out-coached," Martin said. "When we get put on our heels, we kind of come apart at the seams. That's our problem."
Martin summarized K-State's 0-2 Big 12 start, "Am I worried about it? Yeah, but I have to figure out a way to fix this problem, and I'll get it fixed. I am concerned about things, but I'm not going to panic."
Quote of the Game
Saying that he still trusted his teammates and had belief that enough victories will come to get K-State in the NCAA, Pullen said, "This is my last go round. I'm not going to the NIT. I won't play basketball in the NIT. If we should go to the NIT, I will not play."
Talk about a wild ride, check these runs out.
• K-State opened a 14-4 lead at the 13:44 mark.
• CU would out-score KSU 20-10 to knot the game at 24-all over the next eight-plus minutes.
Of the turn-around, Pullen said, "Like always, lack of focus, lack of awareness, three people running one thing and two another, it hurts, man. We have to fix it."
• K-State would score nine points on its next four possessions covering just 2:12 of clock time to lead 33-24.
• CU would close out the half on a 9-zip surge to tie the game at the half, 33-33. The Wildcats did not score a field goal in the last 3:54 of the first half.
"It was huge," Boyle said of the way the Buffs closed out the half. "We turned the ball over 13 times in the first half, but we're tied at halftime. We were lucky."
• CU netted the first four points of the second half; K-State would score 7 of the next 9 for a 40-39 lead at the 17:10 mark.
• CU scored the next 12 points to take an 11-point lead, 51-40, with 12:06 to go. It was a span where Martin said, "We folded up our tent."
• The Wildcats would go on a 19-10 flurry to close to 61-60.
"We made a valiant fight at the end and showed a little bit of pride," Martin said, "but then we can't get a rebound off a missed free throw. It's hard to win when you can't get a rebound."
The Wildcats could never tie the score, and the Buffs scored the last six points in the game. K-State went the final 3:56 of the second half without a field goal.
Key of the Game
Rebounding - CU 38, K-State 29
"It was everything. It was the No. 1 thing that we talked about," said Boyle. "When you play K-State, if you're not ready to battle on the boards you're going to get embarrassed. Our guys battled and showed some toughness."
Martin said, "Their guys went and got it, ours didn't. We stood and watched. Rebounding is an effort play; rebounding is a discipline play. We use the term 'lay wood' on people, and we didn't lay wood on anybody. It was like the parting of the Red Sea."
Stats of the Game
Scoring in the paint, 28-28; scoring off turnovers - K-State 16, CU 15; second-chance points - CU 16, K-State 14; fast break points - CU 10, K-State 9; bench points - CU 33, K-State 21.
Levi Knutson scored 20 points, or nine more than his season average, on 7-of-10 shooting, which included six treys, 4-of-4 in the second half.
Tough to Figure
Colorado entered the game hitting a league-high 78 percent from the foul line to lead the league; KSU entered as the 12th free throwing team at 58 percent.
In this game, K-State hit 13-of-21 (.619) free throws; CU hit 12-of-21 (.571).
Yes, CU made just 57 percent on free throws, but it swished 67 percent (8-of-12) on 3-pointers.
• Pullen led the Wildcats with 22 points, but had five turnovers to go with six assists. Also in twin figures with 12 were Rodney McGruder and Martavious Irving.
• With the win, CU snapped a nine-game losing streak to K-State. It was the Buffs first win in Manhattan since 2003. It may be CU's last trip to Manhattan for quite some time as it is set to enter the Pac-12 next season.
K-State, 0-2, 12-5, completes a two-game home stand against 0-2, 8-9 Texas Tech at 12:30 p.m., on Saturday. The game will be televised by the Big 12 Network.