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Archive for Thursday, January 23, 2003

Buffs brush past KU - Colorado 60, Kansas 59

CU ends KU’s Big 12 win streak

January 23, 2003

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— Yes, Kirk Hinrich thought he was hacked on his hard drive to the basket Wednesday night in the closing seconds of Kansas University's shocking 60-59 men's basketball loss to Colorado at Coors Events Center.

And, yes, Hinrich, KU's senior shooting guard, thought he was bumped on his inside shot at the buzzer.

But, no, Hinrich wasn't surprised the Jayhawks (13-4 overall, 3-1 Big 12) were foiled late in dropping their first conference game of the season, their first regular-season conference loss in 24 games.

"It's tough to win on the road. When you play like we did, it's hard to believe you even have a chance," Hinrich said after the Jayhawks' 27-game winning streak against the Buffaloes (12-5, 2-2) had been snapped.

Hinrich, who was hounded by CU's Blair Wilson all night, had a tough game offensively with 10 points off 3-of-13 shooting.

Yet Hinrich took charge on KU's final possession and had a pair of chances to save the game for the Jayhawks, who had a horrendous 32.8 percent shooting night.

KU had the game's final possession after 6-foot-8 Stephane Pelle hit a 12-footer over 6-foot-3 Michael Lee, giving CU a 60-59 advantage with 25 ticks left. Lee was playing because Jeff Graves was fouled out on a a controversial blocking call on Chris Copeland with 1:27 left.

Hinrich drove the lane with about seven ticks left and appeared to be hacked hard by Wilson. Hinrich was able to swat the ball to Lee in the corner. But Lee, who had hit two big free throws with 39 seconds left to give the Jayhawks a 59-58 lead, missed his jumper with about three seconds left.

"It didn't feel good when I let it go," Lee said. "Right away I didn't think it was going in."

Muscling underneath the basket, point guard Aaron Miles tipped the ball to Hinrich, who put up an inside shot from layup range at the buzzer.

There appeared to be some contact, but again no foul was called.

Let Hinrich explain the sequence:

"I drove the lane. I thought I got slapped on the arm at first, but when you go in there you've got to be strong. I tapped it out to Mike. Aaron tapped it (rebound) to me. I was right under the basket. I thought I got fouled for sure, but it's a tough call right under the bucket."

CU's Pelle, who scored 27 points off 10-of-16 shooting, said the no-call was the right call on the Hinrich inside attempt.

"We were all going for the ball," he said. "If the refs called foul there ,that would have been the biggest steal."

After the buzzer, CU's students swarmed the court.

KU coach Roy Williams raced over to one of the referees to briefly discuss the frenzied end. The meeting lasted just a couple seconds, with Williams then having to dodge the wave of CU fans.

"I thought there was a foul," Williams said. "I thought (Hinrich) got knocked down. I don't care what he's doing. If he's got the ball you shouldn't get knocked down. But it's immaterial."

The loss, Williams said, occurred because the Jayhawks played rotten basketball -- and it had little to do with officiating.

"We can talk all we want about being a big-time team," Williams said. "We can't play like that for 40 minutes and expect to win. Congratulate Colorado. They got over every screen. We got over none. They set good screens. We didn't.

"They made shots (47.9 percent). We didn't. They were more into it from the first moment. I told Ricardo (Patton, CU coach) I was as ticked off as I could possibly be but I was happy for him. He's taken a lot of crap for all the wins we've had in a row.

"I thought his team was into it emotionally, mentally. We had no answers for what they did to us."

KU missed 11 straight shots from 17:17 to 8:59 as Colorado built a 50-44 lead. But a 9-0 KU run, fueled by five points from sophomore guard Keith Langford and four from senior forward Nick Collison gave KU a three-point lead with 6:36 left.

It remained close until the frenzied stretch.

Collison scored 16 off 7-of-15 shooting, while Langford had 14 off 6-of-19 shooting to join Hinrich in double figures. KU missed 11 of 15 threes.

The Buffs were led by Pelle and Michel Morandais, who hit 7 of 12 shots for 17 points. Combined, they had 44 of CU's 60 points.

"We wanted to get more out of our defense," said Williams, whose Jayhawks forced 14 turnovers the first half but led just 32-29 at the break. "We needed one stop (on Pelle's game-winning hoop) and couldn't get the stop."

KU next will meet No. 1-ranked Arizona at noon Saturday at Allen Fieldhouse.

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