LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP)—Going 0-12 in Allen Fieldhouse hasn’t stopped Ricardo Patton from enjoying the opportunity to coach in the tradition-rich old gym that Kansas calls home.
As he closes out his 12th and final season at Colorado, Patton does wish, however, that he’d had a little more success against the Jayhawks than one victory in 25 games.
“You know what—it’s just been great getting to coach in this arena and to coach in the Big 12,” Patton said after the eighth-ranked Jayhawks beat his outmanned Buffaloes 97-74 Saturday.
“Certainly we would have liked to have beaten them a little more often, but they have been pretty good, too. There were as many NBA scouts here today as there were fans, and they were here for a reason.”
Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers scored 21 points apiece for the Jayhawks (18-3, 5-1 Big 12), who have beaten the Buffaloes 35 of the last 36 meetings in one of the country’s most one-sided rivalries.
Patton, who announced before the season that it would be his last at Colorado, will get at least one more shot at Kansas. The Jayhawks visit Boulder on Feb. 14.
“I thought they were going to cancel the second game,” he said with a look of mock astonishment. “I think it’s going to snow that day and we’re just going to tell them not to come in.”
Kansas coach Bill Self has been a part of only a handful of the last 36 meetings, but is nonetheless astounded that one team could be so entirely dominant over another for such a long time.
“Anytime there’s a streak like that against a fellow conference team, it’s surprising,” Self said. “People read a lot into that. But Kansas has also had some pretty good talent during those 36 games, too. I don’t know if I’d ever say that Colorado’s talent level has been as good as Kansas’ talent level in those respective years. But certainly that’s a remarkable streak, considering there’s been that much success away from home.”
Colorado trailed by as many as 19 points early, but closed within nine in the second half behind Richard Roby, who broke out of a four-game shooting slump with 30 points.
But then Chalmers hit two free throws and Rush made his third 3-pointer to trigger a 20-5 run as Colorado fell to 7-57 in Lawrence.
The Buffaloes committed 30 turnovers, one short of their record for a Big 12 game.
“I don’t know if you can beat a bad team with 30 empty possessions, and you certainly can’t beat a good team giving it away 30 times,” Patton said.
Russell Robinson had 12 points and Sherron Collins 11 for the Jayhawks, who have forced at least 20 turnovers seven times this season and held opponents to under 50 percent shooting in 27 straight games.
Jermyl Jackson-Wilson had 11 points for Colorado. He combined with Roby to spark a short-lived rally that sliced Kansas’ lead to 63-54 with 11:51 left.
Xavier Silas had nine points for Colorado, while Roby broke loose in a big way. Just 15-for-50 in his four previous games, the 6-foot-6 junior shot 10-for-15 from the floor and 7-of-10 at the line. He also had seven rebounds.
“We went on a spurt, but they went on a bigger spurt,” Roby said. “When you’re down, you can’t let teams go on any runs. We have to get stops and not let teams shoot a high percentage like that.”
Roby, too, might have made his last appearance in Allen, where Kansas is 177-11 in its last 188 games.
“When they score, the crowd erupts, and it seems like the points count for more, like 6-pointers or something,” he said. “That’s just the type of atmosphere that you have to get used to playing in. After you play here, everywhere else will be easier.”
Chalmers and Rush, who hit his first five shots, combined to score 20 of the first 23 points for Kansas, which is 12-1 this season at home.
Julian Wright, the up-and-down sophomore who’s been inconsistent after being selected the preseason Big 12 player of the year, had one of the most embarrassing moments of his career late in the first half when he stole the ball at midcourt and cruised in for an uncontested dunk.
But just as he got to the basket, the ball slipped out of his hand and he lost his balance and fell in an awkward heap. He lay there a moment seemingly in pain and did not return to the game until the second half, when he got a huge cheer with a slam dunk that made it 55-40 with 16:28 to go.