MANHATTAN, Kan. – Levi Knutson scored 20 points, Alec Burks added 12 and Colorado beat a ranked team on the road for the first time in 14 years with a 74-66 win over No. 21 Kansas State on Wednesday night.
The resurgent Buffaloes (13-4, 2-0 Big 12) were coming off an 89-76 victory over Missouri that was their first win over a ranked team in almost seven years.
Marcus Relphorde also had 12 points for Colorado, which erased an 11-point deficit in the first half and led the whole way in the second to snap a nine-game losing streak against the Wildcats (12-5, 0-2).
Jacob Pullen scored 22 points for Kansas State.
Martavious Irving's free throw cut Colorado's lead to 68-65, then Andre Roberson left the door open for Kansas State when he missed two free throws with 1:12 remaining.
Jamar Samuels was fouled while fighting Cory Higgins for a rebound and made one of two free throws to pull Kansas State to 68-66 with 58 seconds left.
But Higgins, saddled with four fouls, drove the court and went in uncontested for a layup and a four-point lead. Burks was fouled by Samuels and made both free throws to seal it, with one angry fan screaming at Kansas State Frank Martin, "This is on you, Frank."
Since Dec. 23, when Pullen was suspended for three games and Curtis Kelly for six, the Wildcats are 3-3 with victories over programs that did not figure to compete against them anyway: UMKC, North Florida and Savannah State.
Kelly, a 6-7 senior averaging 10.3 points and four rebounds, is eligible to return on Saturday against Texas Tech and will try to keep the Wildcats from falling out of the rankings. Kansas State was No. 3 at the start of the season.
Knutson was 6 for 8 from 3-point range to match a career high. Higgins and Roberson each had nine points for Colorado, which is making its last tour of the Big 12 before moving to the Pac-10 next year.
Colorado outrebounded Kansas State 38-29, but Pullen almost single-handedly kept the Wildcats close, driving in twice in the final 5½ minutes for a layup and drawing a foul. The first time, he popped in the free throw for a three-point play but missed the second time, leaving Colorado with a 66-64 lead with 3:56 left.
A 3 by Knutson put Colorado's lead back in double digits at 54-44, but Pullen scored the next five points on a pair of free throws and a long 3-pointer that brought a roar from a crowd which hadn't seen the Wildcats lose to the Buffs on their home court since 2005.
Will Spradling, fouled while shooting a 3, stepped to the line and netted all three free throws, closing the gap to 54-52 before Knutson hit another 3 to swing the momtum back to Colorado.
Tied 33-all at halftime, the Buffs took a 37-33 lead on a basket by Relphorde and a dunk by Austin Dufault on a nifty feed from Cory Higgins.
Kansas State led by as many as 11 in the first half as Burks and Higgins got off to slow starts. By the time Burks got his first points on a driving layup with 10:06 left, the Wildcats held a 19-11 lead.
But Higgins scored four points and Knutson added a 3-pointer as part of an 8-0 run that tied it at 24.
Pullen then ignited a 9-0 run by the Wildcats which he capped with a pair of free throws for a 33-24 lead.
Then back came the Buffs, closing the half on a 9-0 run of their own. Knutson hit his second 3-pointer and Relphorde, in the waning seconds, stole the ball from Irving and drove the floor for a dunk.
Rodney McGruder and Irving each had 12 points for Kansas State, the preseason pick to win the Big 12 title.