Simpson leads Colorado 78-66 against No. 11 Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –KJ Simpson had a career-high 23 points and 10 rebounds for second, 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 about Colorado, and (Simpson) was great,” Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said. “I thought KJ really took the game into his own hands and really controlled the tempo. The 23 points, he will have other nights like that for sure, but the 10 rebounds were fantastic.

Josiah-Jordan James and Tyreke Key led Tennessee with 15 points apiece.

“We definitely didn’t come into this game with the right mindset,” James said. “It’s a good lesson for us. It’s been a long basketball season. Of course, I’m disappointed and upset that we lost, but I’m also excited to see how this team responds.

The Vols (1-1) couldn’t overcome a poor shooting performance to rally in the second half after giving up the lead for good with 18:12 remaining. The Buffaloes (2-1) led up to 14 in the streak in a dominating second half in which they beat Tennessee 46-32.

“They deserved to win,” Vols coach Rick Barnes said. “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 coming out of the second half with even more energy than we did in the first,” he said. “We just really wanted to connect and focus on having an even better outing than we did in the first one.”

Tennessee held a 34-32 halftime lead after shooting just 23.1 percent from the field. Colorado trailed by up to eight points before halftime.

Key paced the Vols in the first half with 12 points, all but three of which came from the free throw line.

The Colorado bench outscored Tennessee 52-34.

The win was the Buffaloes’ first over the Vols after dropping all four previous matchups between the schools.

CONSEQUENCES OF THE SURVEY

Tennessee will likely drop dramatically when the next poll comes out, as the 10 teams that preceded it all have wins in their first two games.

BIG PICTURE

Colorado: After a disappointing Friday loss to Grambling State, the Buffaloes held the Vols to 66 points after giving up an average of 74.5 points per game while parting ways with their first two of the season.

Tennessee: The Vols need to find their shooting touch on the field as the season progresses. They shot 40% in their season-opening win over Tennessee Tech, but struggled against Colorado.

NEXT

Colorado: Faces UMass on Thursday at the Myrtle Beach Invitational.

Tennessee: Hosts Florida’s Gulf Coast on Wednesday before heading to the Bahamas for Battle 4 Atlantis the following week.

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