Buffs Edged by No. 2 Oklahoma, 77-72
NORMAN, Okla. - Cory Higgins scored 20 points and Austin Dufault and Dwight Thorne II each added 13, however OU's Blake Griffin scored 26 points as the No. 2 Oklahoma Sooners defeated the University of Colorado men's basketball team, 77-72, Saturday afternoon.
Colorado falls to 9-13 overall and 1-7 in the Big 12. Oklahoma improves to 23-1, 9-0.
"There was a two and a half minute segment in there where we turned the ball over three times," said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "We only had nine turnovers in the game but one was a real bad turnover. We had a chance to take a charge on Griffin and we didn't. Then we didn't box out on the free throw and [Tony] Crocker made the three."
The Sooners trailed once but didn't shake free of the Buffaloes until Griffin followed Crocker's fifth 3-pointer of the game by driving the lane for a dunk. Griffin's dunk gave Oklahoma its first double-digit lead at 56-45 with less than 11 minutes to play.
Colorado rallied back within 73-70 on Higgins' jumper with 12.2 seconds left, but the Sooners sealed it from the foul line for their 12th straight win.
Freshman Trey Eckloff cut Colorado's deficit to 51-45 with a layup and then had a chance to make it even closer with a 3-pointer after he'd stolen the ball from Griffin.
Crocker followed another defensive stop with his 3-pointer to help the Sooners start pulling away. The Sooners led 65-51 after Taylor Griffin's first 3-pointer of the season with 6:47 to play.
The Sooners seemed to shut it down after that, as Higgins hit a pair of baskets in the lane to start the Buffaloes' rally. Higgins had a reverse layup to cap a string of seven straight Colorado points that sliced the deficit to 70-64 with 1:03 left, and the Sooners missed five of six free throws at one point to let the Buffs get even closer.
"We just continued to play hard and play our basketball," said Thorne. "We never give up. When we realized it was a close game at the end our intensity picked up."
The Buffaloes shot 28-for-55 (50.9 percent) from the field to become only the third team this season to clear 50 percent against Oklahoma's defense. The Sooners hit 57.1 percent (28-of-49) and also held a 33-20 advantage on the boards.
Freshman Nate Tomlinson recorded four assists and led CU in assists for the ninth time this season. Tomlinson (11 points) hit all three of his three-point attempts.
The Buffs gave up only nine turnovers while the Sooners recorded 17.
Higgins hit double-digits in 22 of 23 games and has led CU in scoring 13 times this season.
Colorado continues Big12 road action on Wednesday, Feb. 11 at Iowa State (12-10, 1-6) at 5:30 p.m. The game will be televised on Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain.