Just one game last night, but what a game it was. Colorado tried as hard as they could to upset sixth ranked Kansas, but fell just short, 82-78.
It was one of the best played games of the conference season, with a loud Colorado crowd, a ton of offense, and some great individual performances. Despite allowing Alec Burks to score 25 (a lot more on him in a moment) and Cory Higgins to add 19, Kansas pulled out a tough road win, thanks in part to shooting 51% from the field.
I thought Kansas would try to win this game by dominating inside with the Morris twins, but instead they simply bombed away from the three point line. Brady Morningstar and Josh Selby combined to hit seven threes, and KU hit 10 total threes as a team. Marcus Morris added 15 points, but did most of his work with screens and defense. His brother Markieff grabbed 11 rebounds to go along with six points.
Colorado stayed in the game despite Kansas’ great shooting, thanks entirely to Alec Burks. Cory Higgins scored a few points early, and added some big buckets late, but Burks was the star. With about eight minutes left in the game Colorado’s offense had basically turned to nothing, and that is when Burks took over. He started to attack the rim, making some impressive layups and getting to the foul line. With a lot of NBA scouts at the game, Burks showed his entire arsenal.
Both teams impressed me last night. Colorado proved that they really can play with any team in the conference, even though they didn’t pull out the win. Unfortunately they might not finish better than .500 in conference, even though they certainly have the chance to do a little better than that.
Kansas bounced back in a classic trap game situation. Dealing with the Thomas Robinson tragedy on top of playing in a hostile environment, I wouldn’t have been shocked if they lost. Add to that the fact that Tyrel Reed had a horrible night shooting, the Morris brothers were very average (for them), and it makes the win more impressive. Josh Selby showed he could still hit shots, and getting Brady Morningstar out of his season long slump might come in handy down the road.
Good win for Kansas, and a not that bad loss for Colorado. This was a great game, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see these two teams face off in the second round of the conference tournament. If only every Big 12 game could be this fun.