Boulder, Colo. It looked for a moment like Michael Lee would emerge the hero of Wednesday's wacky 60-59 Kansas University men's basketball loss to Colorado.
Lee, KU's 6-foot-3 sophomore reserve guard from Portland, Ore., who gave up six inches in guarding CU's Stephane Pelle down the stretch, swished two free throws with 39.3 seconds left, giving KU a 59-58 lead.
"He's a tough, tough kid who made two big free throws that were big-time for us," Kansas coach Roy Williams said.
At the time the charities loomed large.
"I thought they put us over the hump, but we didn't finish at the end," Lee said.
Colorado's Pelle answered Lee's two points with a 12-footer at :25, giving the Buffs their margin of victory. KU had a chance to win late when Lee's corner shot misfired and Kirk Hinrich missed a tough inside shot at the buzzer.
Lee wouldn't have been in the game late had 6-foot-9 Jeff Graves not been called for a blocking foul on CU's Chris Copeland with 1:27 left.
To many, it looked like Copeland charged into Graves. Instead, Graves was tooted for foul No. 5.
"I'd like to have had Jeff Graves in the end of the game. I thought it was a charge. The officials called it a block. I'm not gonna say any more about that," Williams said. "The officials didn't lose us the game."
Graves, who scored six points and grabbed three rebounds in 16 foul-plagued minutes, felt badly about his disqualification.
"I feel I should have had four fouls. They needed me at crunch time," Graves said. "I feel I had a charge, but I guess they did not see it that way. The key was the end of the game. I feel like if I wouldn't have fouled out, they would not have had a last chance (to win)."
Still no contact for Simien: Injured KU forward Wayne Simien took part in a morning shootaround and also ran through pre-game drills with his teammates Wednesday night at Coors Events Center.
Simien, who looked good during running and shooting drills -- sticking 15-footer after 15-footer -- still isn't ready to begin contact work at practice while he rehabs the right shoulder he dislocated on Jan. 4.
"We're still not at the point where we're ready to say he's able to practice," Williams said before the game on his radio show. "We're still in that wait-and-see mode, and maybe within the next week or so we'll know more."
Simien has been KU's biggest cheerleader on the bench during the five games he's missed.
"He's a great team player when he's healthy and a great team player when he's not healthy," Williams said of the 6-9, 255-pounder.
"We hope he gets healthy enough to play because he's not only a great kid, but a great player, too."
Stats, facts: The loss snapped KU's 10-game win streak and snapped the team's 23-game win streak in regular-season conference games. KU had won 11 straight regular-season conference road games. ... It marked KU's first loss in a regular-season league game since a 79-71 loss at Iowa State on Feb. 17, 2001. ... The Jayhawks had beaten CU 27 straight times and had won 11 straight in Boulder. ... KU's 59 points ties the fewest scored against CU since Dec. 13, 1986. ... Nick Collison grabbed his 900th rebound. ... Collison played a career-high 38 minutes. ... Collison had seven field goals and became the fourth player in KU history to hit 700 career field goals. ... Moulaye Niang (two points, three fouls, two rebounds) played a career-high 20 minutes.
Fans on hand: KU had its usual large contingent of fans for the CU game. Ex-Jayhawk T.J. Pugh, who is in medical school, attended. Mark Randall, a member of the Denver Nuggets' front office, also was on hand.