FINAL, KSU, 78-72
Driveway shooter connects on a 3, and it’s down to 8 again. K-State can’t seem to finish these guys. A Roby layup slashes the lead to six with 1:26 left. Mike makes a pair, and he has 31 points and 14 rebounds. Roby answers with 42.3 seconds left. The Wildcats hold on, and Beasley and Co. take a victory (goodbye?) lap around the Fred afterwards. Not particularly impressive, but as Frank later says, it’s a much-needed win. ‘Nuff said.
3:07 left, KSU, 69-56
Mike gets loose. Three-point play. It’s a 10-point game. Frank wants to let Jake have it after that behind-the-back pass, but he thinks better of it. It’s back up to a 12-point game, and it feels as if K-State has taken CU’s best shot. I like Roby’s skills, but… Sloppy play by the Cats after the timeout. Bill is called for goaltending. Blake with a big 3 at 4:45, lifting K-State by 13. The Buffs are scrappy. This Hall fellow is a nice player. He’s got 20. Stew goes baseline for a lay-up. CU can’t get a stop.
6:59 left, KSU, 58-52
Who left the driveway shooter open? Levi Knutson cans a 3, and the Buffs are within four. Zone is in a 2-3 zone. It’s doing the job against the Wildcats. Bill Walker with a chance for an and-1, and he hits the free throw. JJ-W with a reverse after a frantic CU possession. Bill’s a little warm right now. Hall with a tough take with the shot clock expiring, over Mike’s outstretched arm. Now Bill is getting to the rack, and he officially has his groove back. Hall with a deep 3, and it’s down to four – again – at 8:00. Pullen with a hard oop, but Mike corrals and converts.
13:01 left, KSU, 47-42
JJ-W is giving the Buffs good effort. Bill spins and uncorks a 10-footer that finds its mark. He’s got 10 points… and three fouls. JJ-W misses a dunk, stuffing himself, but a Hall lay-up slashes the lead to six. Stew misses a wide-open 3. Roby drills a 3 with 13:39 left, and it’s down to 3. Mike answers, just as he always does. It was a 17-point lead at one point, folks.
16:43 left, KSU, 43-36
Just lost all of my notes for the half so far. But K-State doesn’t look good, not at all. Frank had to bring Bill (three fouls) back in at the 17-something mark, and CU is gaining confidence. Man, this is unbelievable. Frank burned a timeout at 16:43, and a fan yelled, “Great idea.” Mike’s back.
HALFTIME, KSU, 41-27
He’s too skilled, so skilled the average fan doesn’t realize how good he is – especially at that size. Simply put, Mike’s a freak – in a good way. Phantom call – did he make contact? – on Pullen, who supposedly fouled Marcus Hall, who’s had a solid game thus far. This is not how Frank wanted to close the first half, and he’s not happy, sitting on the bench with his chin in his palm. He’s got 20…and I don’t know when that happened. He’s 8 of 12 from the field. Plus, he’s got seven rebounds. Ron Anderson with another offensive rebound. He’s fouled, and he gets the first free throw. Bzdelik burns a timeout. Levi points out Bzdelik probably thinks this is the NBA and the Buffs might get the ball at halfcourt. No such luck.
3:57 left in 1st half, KSU, 34-22
It’s hard to see how Roby’s game projects at the next level. He’s a skilled big guard, and I guess he shoots it well deep – although he hasn’t taken a 3 ball tonight, the stats say he hits 42 percent of his three-point attempts – but he’s just not a physical presence. Doesn’t seem particularly strong, either. The White Tiger with an airball, but that happens. Poor Beckley – at least he’ll be able to tell his kids/grandkids he attempted to compete against the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. With 6:22 left, he limps off the floor but he’ll be back. His absence allows Lu more room to operate, and that’s exactly what Mr. Colon does. He induces contact after a series of fakes – basically, he was bailed out on the call. He makes one of two free throws. Cats still up 16. JJ-W misses a free throw. Hall gets to the rim for CU. The White Tiger was almost posterized, and Denis Clemente has to cover his face with a towel because he’s laughing so hard. David Hoskins is laughing from behind the bench. Amazing sequence with Lu… he sort of galloped to swat that shot. Unreal.
7:57 left in 1st half, KSU, 27-12
Dominique Sutton on the court. K-State on pace to easily eclipse 80 points, but the offense has begun to stall. Lu with some hustle. Jake with an oop to Mike. Ron Anderson and Bill come back on. Clent, too. Poor Trent Beckley – he tried to play defense on Mike, who just raised up on him and drained a 3. Sutton tipped a pair for Colorado – he’s way too pumped up right now. I just saw Frank yell at Mike for a defensive lapse, so it does happen, folks. Jesus… Dominique Sutton is an athlete.
11:51 left in 1st half, KSU, 20-8
Beasley nails a jumper. Bill nails a 3 at 15:06, which has to be a welcome sight. But then he picks up a quick foul on the other end. Hall is at the line for CU, and he makes a pair. Bill drains a pair of free throws. Go figure – the Buffs don’t have a lot of solutions for Mike… or Bill, for that matter. The first free throw for Mike drops through… as does the second. Luis Colon comes in for Mike, and this is always fun. JJ-W (Jermyl Jackson-Wilson) is the recipient of a nice dish from Roby. Bill knocks down another 3, and he’s got 8 already, which is one less than he scored the entire game against KU. CU, as it’s abundantly clear, is not KU – as that’s just fine for the Wildcats.
15:58 left in 1st half, KSU, 8-4
James Franklin with a no-look assist on the first possession… That’s senior night for you. All of the Buffaloes are about the same size – ranging in height from 6-foot-3 to 6-foot-7. The script is perfect… Clent scored first, and then Blake. Guess it’s Franklin’s turn next. The Buffs are going to run, and they’re going to work. Mike tips the ball to himself twice and on the third he rises up for a 12-foot jumper. All net. Then he swats a Roby offering on the other end and dribbles out to start the break. Ridiculous. Stew drives to the rack and he’s fouled. Franklin checks out – Gilbert is in – to loud applause. He did his part. It’s 8-4, KSU. Bill draws a charge on Roby, which may have been a questionable call. But if he’d taken it stronger… actually, that makes little sense at all. Ignore that.
The seniors are being honored, complete with hugs and pounds from Doc Wefald. The saddest moment is David Hoskins hobblinb to mid-court on crutches, but he has a smile on his face. Big surprise coming when Clent Stewart is introduced… He’s going to propose to his girlfriend. She said yes, and his boys were just as stunned as the rest of the crowd. Good stuff. Probably a little more sappy than Frank Martin would like, but hey, this is life. Nice moment – you should have seen it.