LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)Colorado coach Todd Boyle was brutally honest after the Buffaloes’ season-opening, seven-game winning streak came to an end.
Ochai Agbaji scored 20 points and Devon Dotson added 18 points to lead No. 2 Kansas to a 72-58 victory over No. 20 Colorado on Saturday night.
“KU beat us tonight, I mean very soundly,” Boyle said. “People are going to see that score, but it really wasn’t even as close as the score indicated.”
Ten days after claiming the Maui Invitational title, the Jayhawks (7-1) built an early 6-0 lead over their former conference foes. David McCormack fueled the hot start, contributing six of the Jayhawks’ opening eight points.
Holding leading scorer Tyler Bey scoreless from the field through the first half, Kansas used a 9-0 run to build a 19-9 lead. Colorado (7-1) shot 26.9% from the field in the first half and that allowed the Jayhawks to take a 34-22 lead at halftime.
“We got a lot of open looks that just didn’t fall for us tonight,” McKinley Wright said “I wouldn’t take back our game plan and what we did. I don’t think we did nothing necessarily wrong.”
With Bey and D’Shawn Schwartz quieted, Evan Battey lead the way for the Buffaloes, scoring 14 points on a 5-for-8 shooting.
Schwartz picked up a technical foul on a dunk that temporarily quieted the raucous Kansas crowd, and Agbaji knocked down four 3-point baskets in the second half to keep the Buffaloes at a distance.
“I thought Ochai was by far our best performer today,” Kansas coach Bill Self said.
Colorado forced 21 Kansas turnovers, but the Jayhawks shot 52.9% to outlast the Buffaloes.
“If we got a shot we were fairly efficient but obviously we’ve got to be better caretakers of the ball to play really good offensively,” Self said.
Kansas: The size of the Jayhawks overpowered Colorado inside, especially with a two-big lineup, outscoring the Buffaloes 38-22 down low. The Jayhawks also found some late success from outside, shooting 85.7% from 3-point range in the second half after missing all six first-half attempts.
Colorado: With Bey contained by the swarming Kansas defense, the Buffaloes struggled to find any momentum offensively, turning the ball over 17 times and shooting 30% from the field.
Both Naismith and Wooden Award candidates, the matchup between McKinley Wright and Devon Dotson featured two of the most explosive point guards in the nation. Dotson boasted 18 points and six assists, while the Kansas defense limited Wright to eight points and two assists.
A close loss may have allowed the Buffaloes to maintain their No. 20 ranking, but the 14-point deficit will likely cause Colorado to slip in the polls. With No. 1 Louisville topping Pitt 64-46, the No. 2-ranked Jayhawks will likely hold their position in the rankings.
Kansas: Hosts Milwaukee on Tuesday.
Colorado: Hosts Northern Iowa on Tuesday.
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