At least one Colorado team had a major win Sunday in Nashville

The Colorado Buffaloes had a Sunday, surpassing Rocky Top 78-66 in Tennessee. The Buffs headed to Nashville less than 48 hours after a brutal loss, defeating No. 11 Tennessee.

The game came immediately after the Denver Broncos’ disappointing 17-10 loss to the Titans. But boy, Colorado was more exciting than Denver. Facing a team that gave them one of the worst home losses of the Tad Boyle era a season ago — 69-54 — the Buffaloes turned the script around. Even more shocking when you consider it was the second on a rare five-game road trip that began Friday night with a loss to Grambling State, part of the Pac-12 Conference/Southwest Athletic Conference Legacy Series β€” an education and basketball planning partnership between the two leagues.

The Volunteers led for most of the first half, but the Buffs took control before the break thanks to a 9-0 run and never looked back. Colorado rose late in the second half and extended their lead to unassailable thanks to another 9-0 run.

KJ Simpson led the Buffs with 23 points and snagged 10 rebounds, any career-high for his first double-double. The sophomore star came off the bench, likely because Boyle had changed things up for his players a few nights earlier over poor performance. Firing a sizzling 5-on-7 from upfield and 2-on-3 from deep, Tristan da Silva added 14.

“I just felt like we need to send a message to the guys starting the game that they have a responsibility to bring energy and be ready,” Boyle said after the game. “It was also a message to the guys on the bench that you better be ready.”

“A lot of us were disappointed after Grambling,” Simpson said. β€œThe coach was really disappointed. My job as leader of this team is to set the tone. It’s about a tough mindset.”

Colorado kept the Vols to just 27% shooting in the game.

“We were really chasing them defensively,” Boyle said. β€œThe courage and tenacity that our boys have shown has been amazing. We beat a very good basketball team.”

According to BuffStampede.com, the Buffs were favored by 14.5 points Friday night as they lost to Grambling State by nine. On Sunday, CU were 16-point underdogs, beating No. 11 Tennessee in a de facto road game by 12.

The win was Colorado’s first win against a top-flight team outside of Boulder since beating No. 13 Dayton early in Chicago in 2019. The Buffaloes had not beaten such a high-ranked away league since a 1990 Big Eight tournament game against No. 6 Missouri. also in a neutral place.

The Buffs play the Myrtle Beach Invitational in Conway, SC starting Thursday.

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