Top 10 Wins in the Ricardo Patton Era

Saturday's win at Oklahoma State was big. Really big. Not only did it end a 20-game losing streak for CU in Stillwater, it put the Buffs in a tie for second place in a division race where only Texas has distinguished itself from the pack. Inside, find out where the victory over OSU ranks in BSN's Top 10 victories of the Ricardo Patton era.

The 48-year-old coach is in his 10th full season at Colorado. In that span, Ricardo Patton's record is 170-133 overall, 71-89 vs. conference opponents. He's taken two teams to the NCAA Tournament, and three others to the NIT. He's also coached two of the school's three 20-win teams.

Top 10 wins in the Ricardo Patton era

10) CU 106, Missouri 94; Jan. 29, 1996, Boulder
Colorado head coach Joe Harrington resigned following an overtime loss at home to Southern Utah on Jan. 16. Patton, Harrington's top assistant, was quickly named interim head coach. Patton vowed to bring discipline to a talented but misguided group of players, who were on a six-game losing streak. After losses to Kansas and Iowa State, Patton got his first career victory over the Tigers in a game televised on ESPN's "Big Monday." Less than two months later, on March 5, the "interim" tag was removed from Patton's title.

9a and 9b) CU 79, Villanova 56; Dec. 27, 1999, Hawaii
CU 81, Gonzaga 77; Dec. 30, 1999, Hawaii
Colorado outclassed a Villanova team that had been in the NCAA tourney the season prior, and one that would eventually win 20 games in the 1999-00 season in the first round of the Rainbow Classic in Hawaii. After losing to host Hawaii in round 2, the Buffs defeated a Gonzaga club on the verge of becoming a national power. The Zags had become darlings of March Madness the previous season, playing all the way to the Elite Eight. The Gonzaga team Colorado defeated in '99-00 would make it to the Sweet 16 that season. Ironically, CU freshman Richard Fox started 17 games for the Buffs in 1999-00, but would transfer to Gonzaga two years later.

8) CU 65, Pepperdine 61; March 10, 1999, Boulder
For the second time in three years, the Buffs played their way to the postseason, this time earning an NIT bid. The Buffs hosted a decent Pepperdine team, which had beaten WCC champ Gonzaga weeks earlier, in the first round of the NIT tourney. The 65-61 win remains one of two postseason tournament victories for the Buffs during Patton's tenure.

7) CU 88, Oklahoma 80; Jan. 19, 2000, Boulder
Two years prior, the Sooners had beaten CU in Boulder by one point in a game that included a fight between players from both teams and where Patton and OU coach Kelvin Sampson exchanged heated words during the melee. In the 2000 game, Oklahoma came to Colorado ranked No. 17, but the Buffs downed an OU squad that included eventual Big 12 first-teamer Eduardo Najera. The win broke an 11-game win streak over CU by the Sooners. It's one of only two victories Patton has over Sampson.

6) CU 80, Oklahoma State 78; Jan. 21, 2005, Stillwater
Jimmy Carter was still the president in 1980, the last time CU had won in Stillwater, perhaps the toughest place for an opponent to play in the Big 12. Prior to Saturday, Oklahoma State had lost just 13 games on its home court since the conference was formed in the 1996-97 season. After leading through the first half, CU sustained a Cowboy run in the second, but refused to back down. Besides Richard Roby's 27 points, some of which was scored on a bad ankle, several Buffs came up with big plays down the stretch, including Marcus Hall and Marcus King-Stockton. The win put CU at 3-2 in conference play, good for second place early in a conference slate where only Texas has clearly distinguished itself from the pack.

5) CU 102, Iowa State 90; Feb. 19, 2000, Boulder
In one of the most electrifying finishes to regulation in Coors Events Center history, with four seconds remaining and down by three points, CU senior guard Jaquay Walls took an inbounds pass, dribbled past his boyhood friend Jamaal Tinsley and hit a running shot from near midcourt to send the game with Iowa State into overtime. Walls then went off in the OT, scoring an NCAA-record 15 points in the extra period, and securing the win for Colorado over a Cyclone team that featured two future NBA ballers in Tinsley and Marcus Fizer.

4) CU 93, Texas 80; Feb. 4, 2003, Boulder
Colorado had beaten a ranked Kansas in Boulder team just two weeks earlier, but Texas came to town led by one of the best players in the country in point guard T.J. Ford, and the Big 12's best rebounder, James Thomas. Texas coach Rick Barnes would win conference coach of the year following that season, when the Longhorns made it to the Final Four and finished the year ranked No. 5 in the AP poll. But Colorado outplayed UT at Coors in February, and CU students rushed the floor for the second time in two weeks.

3) CU 80, Texas Tech 78; Jan. 11, 1997, Lubbock, Texas
The Buffs had not beaten a ranked opponent on the road since 1973 when Chauncey Billups, Fred Edmonds, Martice Moore and company went into Lubbock and beat then-No. 20 Texas Tech, a team led by Big 12 first-teamer Tony Battie and the conference's leading scorer, Cory Carr. The win also broke Tech's nation-best home-court win streak at 35. The win gave notice to the college basketball world that CU, who had finished last in the Big Eight the season before, was a team to watch. Colorado finished second in the Big 12 that March, and earned its first trip to the NCAAs in 28 years.

2) CU 80, Indiana 62; March 13, 1997, Winston-Salem, N.C.
In their first trip to The Dance since 1969, the Buffaloes outclassed NCAA Tournament regulars Bobby Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers. Chauncey Billups scored 24 points, and the victory set a program record for most wins in a season as the Buffs finished 22-10.

1) CU 60, Kansas 59; Jan. 22, 2003, Boulder
Patton called the Kansas program the benchmark in the conference when he took over the team midway through the 1995-96 season, just prior to the Buffs' home game with the Jayhawks that year. In an effort to teach his players how important it is to protect your own floor, Patton had his team sleep on cots on the Coors Events Center floor the night before the KU game. CU played the mighty Jayhawks very close, but ultimately lost in 1996. Finally, after 21 years of futility (dating back to the 1990-91 season), Colorado beat Kansas in 2003. Kansas, ranked No. 6 in the country at the time, sported a lineup that included Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich and Keith Langford. The win was the first of four at home over ranked opponents that season, including Oklahoma, Oklahoma State and Missouri, the only time in program history CU has beaten four ranked teams in one season. But getting the Kansas monkey off their backs was the biggest accomplishment for a CU team that included David Harrison, Michel Morandais, Stephane Pelle and Blair Wilson. Six current Buffs — Billy Boidock, Chris Copeland, Glean Eddy, Antoine McGee, Jayson Obazuaye — were freshmen that season. They earned an NCAA Tournament bid.

List Breaker? Looking for a game that could break into this top 10? Colorado hasn't won at Kansas' Phog Allen Fieldhouse since 1983. The Buffs travel to Lawrence March 1 for a game that very well could have postseason ramifications.


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