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Buffs Fall at Rainbow Classic

Dec 30, 2008

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HONOLULU, HI – Cory Higgins scored a team high 18 points and Nate Tomlinson hit 11, but a strong second half powered the University of Vermont Catamounts to an 84-59 victory in the third place game of the 45th annual Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic, Tuesday afternoon.


Vermont (8-4) has now won four of its last five games, while the Buffaloes have lost two straight falling to 7-5.


The Catamounts made 29-of-51 (56.9 percent) and dominated from the three-point line, shooting 63.6 percent (7-of-11). The Buffs, who shot over 50 percent from the field against Coppin State and Buffalo, fell to 42.1 percent from the floor (24-of-57).


"We're very young and our guys are learning," said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "As freshman they're learning hard lessons. With a young team three games in three days runs a whole gamut of emotions and the preparations are different. It is all part of the process and if you're going to build this team right you have to start at the ground level and there are hard lessons."


Colorado led 10-7 with 13 minutes remaining in the first half, but two jumpers by Vermont's Garrett Kissel pushed the Catamounts ahead to stay. The Buffs could not reclaim the lead but stayed close, finishing the first half trailing by nine at 42-33 at the break.


Vermont broke open a close first half into a nine-point halftime lead on the strength of 6-of-7 three pointers led. The Catamounts shot 57.7 percent (15-of-26) in the first half.


Colorado remained at a nine-point deficit with 18:58 remaining (Tomlinson jumper), however, the Catamounts pushed its advantage to 15 points on an 8-2 run over the next 1:44 for a 52-37 advantage with 17:14 left.


Vermont kept its intensity thereafter over the next seven minutes with a 25-9 run for a commanding 67-46 advantage with 9:24 remaining. The Catamounts out-scored Colorado 42-26 in the second half.


CU only managed 41.2 percent in the second half, while Vermont shot 56 percent (14-of-25). The Catamounts shot a season second-best 56.9 percent from the field.


CU had zero turnovers during the first half, but committed 10 during the second stanza. The Catamounts turned the ball over only six times throughout the game.

Trimboli scored a game-high 24 points making 8-of-9 field goal attempts, including a perfect 4-of-4 on 3-pointers. He also grabbed four rebounds with five assists. Marqus Blakely added 16 points and six rebounds and Colin McIntosh chipped-in 12 points and six boards for Vermont.

CU converted 46-of-54 free throws (85.2 percent) in their three games at the Rainbow Classic.


Higgins led the team in scoring all three games of the Classic, also grabbed a team-high five rebounds Tuesday afternoon. Junior guard Dwight Thorne II tallied seven points and freshman forward Austin Dufault and freshman Trey Eckloff added six apiece.


Colorado will stay on the road to take on SMU on Monday, Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain.