In one afternoon, the Colorado Buffaloes were reminded of what they miss out on since leaving the Big 12 for the Pac 12.
Built as one of Kansas’ marquee games of the non-conference portion of their season and a litmus test of the Buffaloes maturation as a team, the reunion between Kansas and Colorado was anything but epic, sans the final margin of victory in a 90-54 Jayhawks thrashing of Colorado before 16,300 fans inside an electric Allen Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon.
The energy was evident early for Kansas (7-1), as the team and fans knew from the start that the Buffaloes (7-2) were the biggest name to visit the Fieldhouse so far this season.
“I always ask the guys how is it out there and Elijah said ‘It feels like a conference game.’ And I said to all our fans it is,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Plus, if you’re going to play basketball in college, there’s no better setting than playing a Saturday afternoon game in Allen Fieldhouse, with the light shining through the window. To me, it’s as cool and unique as any place you can possibly play a game.”
Colorado never had a chance, as Kansas came out with full court pressure to start the game and blitzed their way to an 18-3 lead a little over five minutes into the game.
It was apparent that Kansas elevated its play with the elevated stature of their opponent.
“They had us on upset alert, so that had us on edge and we were just ready for this game,” senior forward Travis Releford said.
Kansas would never trail, as they led 43-22 at halftime.
Guard Ben McLemore tallied 24 points and five rebounds in 30 minutes of action. He was one of four Jayhawks in double figures.
Senior Kevin Young was a spark plug on both ends, finishing with 16 points and eight rebounds. Senior guard Elijah Johnson took advantage of the long break between games with 11 points and four rebounds. Releford scored 10 and dished out six assists and senior center Jeff Withey had a solid afternoon with eight points, seven rebounds and five assists.
The Buffaloes were led by forward Josh Scott, who finished with 19 points and four rebounds.
Kansas handed out 23 assists, to Colorado’s eight, while forcing 18 CU turnovers. The numbers told the story, but Colorado coach Tad Boyle was more blunt and to the point in his postgame analysis.
“That was an old fashioned ass whipping,” Boyle said.
Indeed, Kansas was dialed in after not playing a game in eight days. In the second half, the Jayhawks opened with a 9-0 run to open up a 52-22 lead. The lead would grow to as much as 42 later in the half.
The Jayhawks will have another week off before hosting Belmont, next Saturday night at Allen Fieldhouse.
“I think the biggest thing was our energy. That was the first time we played a game in our building, where we didn’t actually allow our opponent to get comfortable early in the game,” Self said.