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Colorado uses strong second half to defeat Kansas State

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) – Tameiya Sadler scored all 10 of his points in the second half to lead a balanced offensive attack, and No. 5 seed Colorado beat fourth-seeded Kansas State 63-50 on Sunday to advance to the Sweet 16.

The Buffaloes (24-9) will face the winner of Monday’s game between No. 1 seed Iowa and No. 8 seed West Virginia on Saturday in Albany, N.Y

This was the first home sellout for Kansas State since they hosted No. 1 UConn on December 11, 2016.

The atmosphere impressed Colorado coach JR Payne.

“The environment was incredible, a big thank you to Manhattan, Kansas,” she said. “The entire community welcomed us this week. This is a great basketball environment.

“But we love this environment. We love being the underdog. We kind of thrive in that role.”

Colorado, which had six players with nine or more points, used an 11-2 run in the third quarter to grab its largest lead of the game at 48-41. The Buffaloes outscored K-State 19-7 in the third quarter and took a 52-42 lead in the fourth quarter.

No Buffaloes player scored more than 11 points, which Payne said reflected her team’s unselfishness.

“One of the best things about our team is that no one really cares who gets to shine,” she said. “We don’t have a single five-star recruit. We don’t have a single McDonald’s All-American. But we have a group of young women who are ready to fight and compete every day they speak out. This creates a group that truly wants each other to succeed.”

The Wildcats (26-8) had several chances to cut the deficit to three in the fourth quarter but couldn’t keep the shots falling.

“It’s disappointing to lose when you’re not playing very well and you don’t feel like you did things as well as you could have,” K-State coach Jeff Mittie said. “The game presents its challenges and there were moments where we didn’t handle those things particularly well. The credit goes to Colorado. They did a lot of things that caused us problems throughout the day.”

Gabby Gregory scored 12 points to lead Kansas State. Ayoka Lee added 10 points, 11 rebounds and six blocks.

Gregory, who pleaded with the K-State community all weekend to come out, was happy about the crowd but was disappointed that she had to end her career in defeat.

“I didn’t expect to finish so early,” she said. “Right now I’m just so upset that we’re not moving forward. Since my basketball career ended in college, I didn’t realize the extent of it yet.

“If this is my last game here, that’s a pretty good crowd to go out in front of. I’m just very grateful to the fans.”

Neither team was able to gain control in the first half. The first quarter ended with the score tied at 14. Kansas State used an 8-0 run early in the second quarter to open a 22-15 lead, the largest lead of either team to that point.

Serena Sundell hit a 3-pointer later in the quarter and sank an accompanying free throw to give K-State a 33-24 lead. But Colorado responded with a 9-0 run to tie the game at 33-33.

THE TAKING AWAY

Colorado: The Buffaloes were not intimidated by the partisan crowd. Every time K-State took over the momentum and the crowd got louder, the Buffs responded.

Kansas State: The Wildcats will be completely different next year without Lee anchoring the middle on offense and defense. With 13 assists, K-State set a school record for assists in a season with (631). And with eight blocks, the Wildcats set a school record for blocks in a season (178).

NEXT

Colorado: The Buffaloes travel to Albany to play the winner of Monday’s game between No. 1 seed Iowa and No. 8 seed West Virginia.

Kansas State: The Wildcats are done for the season.

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