After battling for 40 minutes and with a tie score with four seconds left in play on Saturday, the University of Colorado Buffaloes upset the no. 6 Kansas University Jayhawks with a buzzer beating thirty-foot shot from Askia Booker, bringing the final score to 75-72.
After the game, Booker said that sinking a the big shot at the end was something that he never expected. "I'm not sure I thought that would ever happen," he said. "It felt great."
"This is a great day for our program," said head coach Tad Boyle.
The Buffs gained as much as a nine-point lead on the Jayhawks in the second half, but their glory was short-lived. Kansas responded right away with a nine-point streak to tie it up, and the score remained neck-in-neck for the remainder of the game.
With this win, head coach Tad Boyle and the Buffs increased their win streak to nine. The last time such a feat was achieved was during the 2005-06 season, when the Buffs also won nine straight during non-conference play.
Four Buffs contributed double-digits in scoring during Saturday's game, with the junior guard tandem of Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie on top with 15 points apiece. Sophomores Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson each added 14 points of their own to the mix to complement the Buffs in the big win.
In the post game press conference, Boyle said, "I look at the stat sheet and I wonder how we won."
Throughout the game, the Buffs struggled offensively. They shot 41.1% from the field, going 23 for 56, and only managed to make 7 of their 22 three-point shots (31.8%). On top of that, they only made 22 of 37 free throws for 59.5%.
The Jayhawks, on the other hand, shot 52.9% from the field (27 for 51), 25% from behind the arc (5 for 20), and made 65% of their free throws (13 for 20). In the end, it was the Buffs' zone defense that won them the game.
Saturday's game got off to a quick start, with Jayhawk superstar freshman Andrew Wiggins sinking a three 20 seconds in. Over the next two minutes, Kansas scored four more points before the Buffs were able to get a bucket of their own.
At the 17:34 mark, Colorado got its first score of the game off of a nasty dunk from sophomore guard/forward Xavier Johnson, which he complemented with a free throw after being fouled in the process (7-3). Kansas shot a quick two right after, increasing their lead back to six (3-9).
Then Kansas's offense went off. Over the next four and a half minutes, they outshot the Buffs nine to six, doubling Colorado's score in the process (9-18). But the Buffs weren't ready to give in just yet.
The Jayhawks held the lead for the next nine minutes, until the Buffs offense kicked it into gear and took over. After going down by nine points, they went on a tangent, outscoring the Jayhawks seventeen to seven. With four and a half minutes left in the half, the Buffs gained their first lead of the game, 26-25.
Wiggins responded with a quick two-point shot to put the Jayhawks back on top thirty seconds later, but a free throw from Buffs freshman forward Dustin Thomas gave the Buffs its first of many tie scores in the game with 3:36 left on the clock (27-27).
Before the end of the half the Buffs and the Jayhawks tied it up two more times, but by the time the buzzer sounded, the Buffs held a slight edge, 33-30.
The second half started out with a quick bucket from sophomore forward Josh Scott, who increased Colorado's lead to five points (35-30). They kept the lead on the Jayhawks for the next ten minutes and went up by as much as nine points in that time.
With eleven and a half minutes left in the game, freshman guard/forward Tre'Shaun Fletcher made a huge play that got the Coors Events Center rocking. After stealing the ball from Kansas, he sprinted to the Colorado goal and stuffed it, posterizing Wiggins in the process.
With that massive dunk, the Buffs went up 53-44, but the Jayhawks didn't allow Colorado's lead to get any bigger. They scored nine unanswered points to tie it up again with nine minutes left, 53-53.
For the rest of the game, the Buffs couldn't shake the fired up Jayhawks. They tied the score at 55 again before the Buffs went off and amassed as much as a six-point lead with just under two minutes left of play (68-62).
But the game was far from over.
The Jayhawks battled back, and after several missed free throws from the Buffs and an excellent offensive effort themselves, they managed to tie the score again at 72, when a layup from Perry Ellis put them back in the game with four seconds remaining.
With three seconds left on the clock, Boyle called a time out to set up the final play. When play resumed, the Buffs gave Booker the ball, and it turned out to be the right call.
The fans in the Coors Events Center held their breath as the sophomore guard took the final shot from thirty feet back, and they erupted when he made the huge three-point shot that won the Buffs the game.
"As soon as he let go, I knew it was money," Boyle said. "To me, it was a great day for college basketball in the state of Colorado."
Senior center Ben Mills, who had four points and three rebounds by the end of the night, said, "It's huge. I think this is the highest ranked team to come in and for CU to beat them."
The Buffs, now 9-1, will return to their home court on Friday night to take on Elon at 6:30 p.m. in the hopes of continuing their winning streak.