Consecutive 3-pointers by Richard Roby and Dwight Thorne gave the Buffs a 30-29 edge going into the locker room But Kansas State, who moved to 20-9 overall, 9-5 in the Big 12 with the victory, went on a 14-0 run early in the second half. Colorado never recovered.
Kansas State was particularly effective at getting to the basket in the second half. The Wildcats converted layups on five consecutive possessions midway through the final 20 minutes. On four of those plays, CU committed fouls, giving the Wildcats the and-1 opportunity, which they converted three times.
It was yet another weakness the Buffs have displayed in what's become a long, long season.
"We've got to do a better job helping (on defense)," Roby said.
Ricardo Patton, who coached his next to final game at Coors, also said the obvious afterwards.
"You can always point to your defense, and our defense was poor, especially in the second half," he said.
Forward David Hoskins, in particular, took advantage of CU's poor help-side defense en route to a team-high 21 points.
Though the Buffs outrebounded the Wildcats by eight boards, CU committed five more turnovers. Most telling, though, Kansas State shot 66.7 percent from the field in the second half. Roby led all scorers with 26 points. In flashes, he looked like the Roby of 2005-06, hitting leaners and draining 3-pointers. But he and senior Dominique Coleman combined for 10 turnovers in the game.
Colorado's record fell to 6-18 overall, 2-12 in conference. With two games and the conference tournament remaining, the Buffs are now in jeopardy of posting their worst record since the 1988-89 season, when CU was 7-21.
Kansas State, meanwhile, is making a case for an NCAA Tournament berth under first-year head coach Bob Huggins. K-State hasn't been to the tourney since 1996, but with two conference games and the Big 12 tourney remaining, they've got their 20 wins and are currently in fourth place in the conference.
This from a team who's most consistent offensive performer — senior forward Cartier Martin — comes off the bench. In fact, Kansas State doesn't really look all that special until you look at the scoreboard and the win column.
Asked if he thought Kansas State was an NCAA tourney team after the game, Patton said, "Their record indicates they're an NCAA Tournament team. They don't make the all-airport team walking through the airport. But I guarantee you there won't be a team that plays as tough as they do in the tournament."
Notes: Roby moved to No. 8 on CU's all-time scoring list. He now has 1,403 career points, and trails the No. 7 player, Michel Morandais, by 25 points. …Freshman center Marc Van Burck played nine minutes, his most time this season.
Points: Richard Roby 26
Rebounds: Dominique Coleman 8
Assists: Coleman 4
Turnovers: Coleman 6
Blocks: Coleman 3
Steals: two with 2
Points: David Hoskins 21
Rebounds: Hoskins 5
Assists: Hoskins 4
Turnovers: three with 2
Blocks: Serge Afeli 1
Steals: Blake Young 2