BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Rodney McGruder sank a long 3-pointer with Alec Burks in his face, but the shot was still on his fingertips as the clock hit zeros and Colorado escaped with a 58-56 win over Kansas State on Saturday night.
The Wildcats celebrated and the Buffs stood around as the officiating crew reviewed the play and ruled the basket no good.
The Buffaloes (16-10, 5-7) swept the Wildcats (16-9, 4-6) for the first time since 2003-04. They won 74-66 in Manhattan earlier this season, part of a promising 3-0 Big 12 start that has faded with seven losses in eight games.
Cory Higgins led Colorado with 17 points and Levi Knutson added 16. Jamar Samuels led Kansas State with 13 points, Jacob Pullen had 12 and McGruder 11.
Burks, who came in averaging 21.4 points in conference action, was stifled all night and had just four points when he stepped up to the line with 43 seconds left and swished two free throws to give Colorado the lead for good at 54-53.
Pullen lost the handle on the ball and Burks scooped it up and slammed it to give Colorado a 56-53 lead.
Pullen, who was averaging 19.6 points in the Big 12, raced back downcourt with the inbounds pass and swished a three — but Wildcats coach Frank Martin had called timeout. So, Kansas State still trailed by three with 22.1 seconds left and the shot clock off.
After a timeout, Pullen drove through the lane for a layup that made it 56-55 with 13.2 seconds left.
Knutson’s two free throws with 11.9 seconds left restored Colorado’s three-point lead and led to yet another timeout. This time, Knutson fouled Pullen with 3.9 seconds left before he could get off a 3-pointer.
Pullen sank the first but missed the second and the ball went out of bounds to Kansas State, down 58-56, with 1.1 seconds left.
Each team called a timeout and Colorado coach Tad Boyle recounted how No. 22 Texas A&M had sunk a 3-pointer to force overtime on a last-second inbounds play Wednesday night, a game the Aggies won 73-70.
This time, Shane Southwell threw across the floor to McGruder, who spun and got off the shot with Burks in his face.
The buzzer sounded, the red light went on and the ball swished the net, leading to jubilation for the Wildcats, but only momentarily as they soon realized the officials were checking to see if he got the shot off in time.
He didn’t, and it was the Buffs’ turn to celebrate.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)