Buffs Drop Big 12 Tournament Game to Oklahoma, 54-49
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) – Richard Roby scored 18 points and Marcus Hall added 12, however it wasn't enough to lift Colorado over Oklahoma, dropping a 54-49 quarterfinal game in the Big 12 tournament, Friday afternoon.
"When you take a hit, you dust yourself off and you get back up and we're just going to keep working", said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "We've been in a lot of ball games this year with a chance to win. We never quit. We always believed and we kept battling. I applaud the efforts of our team. I'm so excited about the future. I was very excited about this game, and we certainly had it within our grasp to win this game and move on."
Oklahoma (22-10) got off to a fast start, stalled, then needed a late run to hold off the Buffaloes.
Longar Longar had 11 points and nine rebounds, but turned it over seven times. Taylor Griffin added 10 points for Oklahoma, which moves on to face Texas in Saturday's semifinals. Tony Crocker had 12 points for the Sooners.
Colorado (12-20), like it did in the first round against Baylor, turned the game into a grind, passing at least a dozen times, milking the shot clock on nearly every possession. The tactic turned it into a defensive battle, putting a premium on every possession.
Colorado shot just 32 percent, but held the Sooners to 34 percent and 15 points below their season average, keeping the game close.
The Buffaloes were particularly effective against Blake Griffin, quickly sending double and triple teams as soon as he touched the ball.
Griffin averaged 15.2 points and 9.2 rebounds during the regular season, but was clearly frustrated by Colorado's swarming defense. He had two points in the first half and finished with four on 2-of-7 shooting, playing just 15 minutes.
Roby's 18 points brought his career total to 2,001 points, breaking Donnie Boyce's school record by six points. He also had 10 rebounds, landing his 11th career double-double.
The Sooners pulled ahead 51-44 on a 3-pointer by Crocker with just over 2 minutes left, but missed three straight free throws to give Colorado a chance. The Buffaloes pulled within 51-49 when Dwight Thorne hit a 3-pointer with 30 seconds left, but Crocker hit two free throws and Austin Johnson hit 1-of-2 to seal it.
Colorado pulled off the surprise of the first round, holding off Baylor 91-84 in two overtimes to become the first No. 12 seed to beat a fifth seed in the Big 12 tournament's 12-year history.
Cory Higgins added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Buffs. Marcus King-Stockton tied a career-high with five blocked shots.
The Buffaloes figured to have a shot at knocking off Oklahoma. They beat the Sooners 72-58 in Boulder on Feb. 9.
After some early breakdowns, Colorado tightened up defensively, rarely giving the Sooners an open look, holding them to 26 points on 8-of-23 in the first half. The Buffaloes had their own problems offensively, shooting just 34 percent in the first half, but their defense allowed them to stay within 26-21 at halftime.