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MBB Falls to Buffalo, 62-60 at Rainbow Classic

Dec 29, 2008

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HONOLULU, HI – Sophomore Cory Higgins scored a team-high 15 points and freshman Nate Tomlinson added 13, but it was not enough to lift the University of Colorado men's basketball team over Buffalo, as the Bulls escaped with a 62-60 victory at the 45th annual Outrigger Hotel Rainbow Classic semifinals, Monday night.


UB guard Calvin Betts runner with .05 tenths of second remaining was the difference as the Bulls almost squandered a 13-point first half lead.


Higgins led the team in scoring for the eighth time this season and for the third consecutive time. He also hit all four of his free throws Monday night, improving his career free throw streak to 32-straight spanning over five games.


The Bulls (7-4) advance to meet Colorado State in Tuesday's championship final. The Buffaloes (7-4) had their four-game win streak snapped and will play Vermont for third place beginning at 4:30 p.m. (MST), 1:30 p.m. Hawaiian time. Vermont fell to Colorado State 82-76 earlier in the day.


UB is coming off a 72-71 overtime win against Pepperdine, while CU topped Coppin State, 80-63 in the tournament's first round match ups.


"We dug ourselves such a deep hole in the beginning," said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "Buffalo had more energy than we did and they had a will and a want-to. I can't dive on the floor, or take a charge for them, I would if I could. But I can't do those things and we drill and show them those things. We got beat on the boards and we turned the ball over too much in the beginning."

The Bulls built an early lead in the first half and led by as much as 13 points with 3:48 in the first half.

Trailing 38-29 at the break and despite shooting a season first-half best 60.0 percent from the field, the Buffs stormed by scoring the game's first six points cutting their deficit to 38-35. The first half also saw the second most CU turnovers with 11.

Although they never led in the second half, Colorado tied it at 56 on Tomlinson's layup with 5:15 to play. Buffalo scored the next four points on offensive putbacks by Betts and Vadim Fedotov. Tomlinson made a pair of free throws to pull the Buffaloes to within a basket at the 1:41 mark.

CU junior guard Dwight Thorne II tied it at 60 (the game's third tie) with his driving layup with 11 seconds remaining before Betts hit his game-winner.

The Buffs hit 23-of-41 from the field (51.1 percent), while the Bulls shot 50 percent (27-of-64). CU is 6-2 this season when shooting 50 percent or better from the field.


Buffalo dominated on the boards, out-rebounding CU, 32-21, which is a season-low for CU.


The Buffs saw balanced scoring with four players scoring double-digits. In addition to Higgins and Tomlinson, Thorne and redshirt-sophomore Casey Crawford each added 11 points for the Buffs. Thorne and freshman forward Austin Dufault also grabbed four rebounds each.