MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Jacob Pullen had 15 points and 10 assists, and No. 9 Kansas State pulled out of a first-half funk to turn an ugly game into a 68-51 rout over Colorado on Saturday night.
Kansas State (20-4, 7-3 Big 12) seemed out of sorts after a week off, fumbling and throwing the ball away most of the first half. The Wildcats pulled it together with an impressive run to start the second half and dominated the rest of the way to win their ninth straight over Colorado (11-13, 2-8).
Curtis Kelly had 12 points and 11 rebounds, and Jamar Samuels added 12 points to give Kansas State 20 wins in four straight seasons for the first time.
The Buffaloes were uncharacteristically loose with the ball in a sloppy first half and struggled defensively in the second to lose their 34th consecutive Big 12 road game.
Alec Burks had 21 points and Cory Higgins added 17 for Colorado, which has lost 26 straight road games against Division I teams and seven of eight overall.
These teams played a brutal game their last meeting, combining for 68 fouls in Kansas State's six-point win in Boulder on Jan. 16.
The sequel was uglier — at least in the first half.
Early on, it had the flow of a third-grade rec league game, turnovers and fouls plaguing nearly every possession.
The teams combined for nine turnovers — many on passes that were never going to be completed — and nine free throws in the first 6 minutes. Kansas State shot seven of those and clanked six, not much of a surprise for a team ranked No. 262 in the nation from the line.
The fouls tapered off after that, but not the turnovers.
Kansas State was flustered by Colorado's extended zone, forcing passes in traffic, lobbing others up for grabs. The Wildcats had 11 turnovers by halftime — four below their season average — including one after two passes that looked like eephus pitches.
The Buffaloes are one of the Big 12's best teams at taking care of the ball, yet kept trying to dribble through Kansas State's athletic man-to-man defense, leading to easy strips and breakaways for the Wildcats. Colorado had 13 turnovers by halftime, already more than its season average.
By the time they were done throwing the ball away, Kansas State clinged to a 28-26 lead after a first half that featured three more turnovers than field goals.
The Wildcats got better. Colorado didn't.
Sparked by Luis Colon's quick six points, Kansas State hit 10 of its first 13 shots of the second half, going up 51-34 on Pullen's 3-pointer from the wing. The Wildcats never let up, shooting 14 of 25 in the half with just six turnovers.
The Buffaloes kept throwing the ball away, finishing with a season-high 22 turnovers.
About the only drama in the second half was whether Samuels would be able to knock the ball down after it stuck between the shot clock and backboard.
Fitting for Kansas State's second half, he got it.