For the last time, at least for the near future, Kansas (19-1; 4-1) traveled to Boulder, Colo., to take on Colorado (14-7; 3-3) before they move to the Pac 10. The Jayhawks, led by 17 points from Josh Selby narrowly defeated the Buffaloes, 82-78. Alec Burks led all scorers with 25 points and nearly single handily won the game for his team, but KU was able to make plays down the stretch and hold on. They will travel to Washington D.C., for the funeral services for Thomas Robinson's mother, Lisa, before heading on Thursday evening to prepare for Kansas State on Saturday.
It was another typical game for the 2010-2011 Kansas Jayhawks, currently ranked sixth after falling to Texas over the weekend.
KU led several times by at least 10 points, but failed to put the Buffaloes away for good, letting Colorado get back within striking distance.
In the first half, Kansas hit seven three-pointers, led by Josh Selby, who found his shooting touch after struggling in conference play. Selby it several outside shots, including two from beyond NBA range, and helped the Jayhawks break a 13-13 tie to give KU a sizeable lead.
However, Alec Burks and Cory Higgins, arguably the most dangerous offensive duo in the Big 12, knocked down shots from all over to help keep Colorado close.
Despite having the size advantage, KU was unable to get the ball inside during the first 20 minutes. Colorado switched between man-to-man and zone defenses. The Morris twins were essentially a non-factor in the first half, as the Jayhawks received the majority of its points from Selby, Tyrel Reed, and Brady Morningstar off the bench, who hit four three pointers of his own and finished with 14 points.
KU had 14 points from Reed, and 15 from Marcus Morris. Twin brother Markieff Morris had six points, struggling on the offensive end, but hauled in 11 rebounds, many of which coming in the second half in key stretches. Overall, KU outrebounded Colorado 35-19.
Colorado, who hit better than 50-percent from the field in the first half, went cold for long periods in the second half, allowing Kansas to build up 10-point leads, but as the trend from the season continued, the Buffaloes were able to come back and go on smaller runs of their own to bring the game back.
If there is one complaint for the Jayhawks this season, it's the inability to put teams away. Against Texas last weekend, KU led 18-3 and looked to be headed for a dominating win, but eventually ran out of steam and couldn't stop Texas on the defensive end.
Tuesday, the same scenario seemed to be taking place. As time ticked off the clock, Colorado inched its way closer and closer, eventually getting under a minute and sending Kansas to the line in order to stop the clock.
Cory Higgins and Alec Burks couldn't be stopped in the latter half of the game, scoring almost at will, particularly Burks, who had just four points in the first half. The game appeared to be swinging in the favor of Colorado when Tyshawn Taylor committed a charge when lobbing a pass down court to beat the press with under a minute to go. Colorado gained the possession and capitalized by scoring a bucket before KU went back to the line.
Ironically enough, the Jayhawks-a below average free throw shooting team-won the game from the line, scoring their last nine points from the stripe. KU's slim four point halftime lead ended up being the difference in the game.
Next up is Kansas State back in Lawrence, Kan., on Saturday. The Sunflower Showdown is the main event for ESPN's College Game Day, which is to be broadcasted beginning at 7 a.m. from Allen Fieldhouse.
Before the Jayhawks head home from Boulder, they will make a stop in Washington D.C. to attend the funeral services for Lisa Robinson, mother of KU's Thomas Robinson, who suddenly passed away last Friday of an apparent heart attack. It is unknown as to whether Robinson will rejoin his teammates for Saturday's game.
Funeral services for Lisa Robinson, mother of Kansas basketball player Thomas Robinson, will be held Thursday, Jan. 27 at the Antioch Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. (Eastern) and the funeral at 11 a.m. The KU basketball team will be attending the services.
The family of Lisa is asking that, in lieu of flowers or other gifts, contributions be made to the Lisa Robinson Scholarship Fund, for the benefit of her daughter, Jayla, c/o SNR Denton, 1301 K Street NW, Suite 600, East Tower, Washington, DC 20005-3364. The Scholarship Fund will be administered by Christopher "Kit" Smith of SNR Denton US LLP and other fiduciaries selected by SNR Denton.
Contributions to the Lisa Robinson Scholarship Fund are nondeductible for tax purposes.