NASHVILLE, Tenn. — – KJ Simpson had 23 points and 10 rebounds, both career highs for the sophomore year, to lead Colorado to an upset 78-66 win over No. 11 Tennessee on Sunday.
Tristan de Silva added 14 points for the Buffaloes, who shot 43.5% from the field compared to 25.4% for the volunteers.
“Today was Colorado and (Simpson) was great,” said Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle. “I thought KJ really took control of the game there and really controlled the pace. The 23 points, I’m sure he’ll have other nights like that but the 10 rebounds was fantastic.”
Josiah-Jordan James and Tyreke Key led Tennessee by 15 points each.
“We definitely didn’t go into this game with the right attitude,” said James. “It’s a good lesson for us. It’s a long basketball season. Of course I’m disappointed and upset that we lost, but I’m also curious to see how this team reacts.”
The Vols (1-1) couldn’t overcome a poor shooting performance to rally in the second half after finally giving up the lead 18-12 to play. The Buffaloes (2-1) led by as much as 14 points in a dominant second half in which they outplayed Tennessee 46-32.
“They deserved the win,” said Vols coach Rick Barnes. “They, I thought, pretty much controlled the game from start to finish.”
Simpson had 15 points in the second half.
“We just wanted to focus on getting through the second half with even more energy than the first,” he said. “We really wanted to dial in and focus on coming out even better than the first.”
Tennessee led 34-32 at halftime after shooting just 23.1% from the field. Colorado was as much as eight points behind before halftime.
Key accelerated the Vols by 12 points in the first half, with all but three points coming from the free throw line.
Colorado’s bench surpassed Tennessee’s 52-34.
The win was the Buffaloes’ first over the Vols after dropping the previous four inter-school matchups.
Tennessee is likely to fall dramatically when the next poll is released, as the 10 teams before it have all won in their first two games.
Colorado: After a disappointing loss to Grambling State on Friday, the Buffaloes kept the Vols at 66 points after giving up an average of 74.5 points per game while splitting their first two of the season.
Tennessee: The Vols need to find their touch from the field as the season progresses. They shot 40% in their season-opening win over Tennessee Tech but struggled against Colorado.
Colorado: Faces UMass at Thursday’s Myrtle Beach Invitational.
Tennessee: Hosts on the Florida Gulf Coast on Wednesday before heading to the Bahamas for the following week’s Battle 4 Atlantis.
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