Buffs Fall to Ranked Tigers, 66-53
BOULDER- The University of Colorado men's basketball team put up a valiant second half effort, but the Buffaloes just could not cut the deficit they suffered in the first half, losing to the No. 11 (AP)/10(ESPN) ranked Missouri Tigers, 66-53 at the Coors Events/Conference Center on Saturday afternoon.
The Buffs have now lost seven straight games, their longest streak since losing eight in a row during the 1995-96 season. Colorado falls to 9-17, 1-11 Big 12, while Missouri won its sixth straight game improving to 23-4, 10-2 Big 12.
"We don't play well all the time but they are trying and competing which is testimony to how they are as people and how they're wired," CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "I'm going to keep challenging and keep pushing them. They're growing up the hard way but that's a good thing."
The Buffs never gained the upper hand in the contest as the Tigers remained on top of the scoreboard the entire game, thanks in large part to points in the paint, help from the bench, and rebounding.
Mizzou netted 36 of its 60 points in the paint compared to Colorado's 18, and four Tigers came off the bench to contribute 28 points, led by Marcus Denmon with 11. CU only saw nine points from its bench, five of which came from sophomore Javon Coney.
Mizzou pulled down 35 rebounds, while the Buffs only snagged 21.
MU opened the game with a 10-1 run, but Colorado came back within two points of the Tigers (17-to-15) at the 8:24 mark after sophomore Cory Higgins (14 points) connected on a driving layup. Higgins put up another two points in the paint and then turned the energy up after he stole the ball, went up for the jam and was fouled by Missouri's Kim English.
The Buffs put some backcourt pressure on Mizzou with a press on a Tiger inbound that lead to an MU turnover in its defensive end of the court. Higgins then knocked down a jumper to put his team within four at 24-20, but that's when Missouri turned up its play and stormed away on a 9-0 run over the next 2:26.
The Tigers had the momentum going in their direction when they denied Thorne on a fast break layup attempt and then followed it up with a two-on-one under the basket which ended up in a Demarre Carroll reverse layup. Tiger Matt Lawrence followed with a wide open 3-pointer, and by the end of the run, Mizzou pulled away to its biggest lead of the half, a 13-point advantage at 33-20.
Despite CU's efforts to catch up, they entered halftime down 37-26.
The Buffs played the Tigers evenly in the second half—they were only outscored 29-27—but they just could not catch MU after its late first half run. Colorado came within nine points of Mizzou (54-to-45) after freshman Trey Eckloff nailed a jumper at the 6:40 mark, but that is the closest the Buffs would come to catching the Tigers for the rest of the game.
Freshman Austin Dufault led CU in scoring and rebounding for the first time this season with 15 points and five rebounds. He scored six of his points within the last two minutes of the game, including a dunk and four free throws.
Senior Leo Lyons led Mizzou with 13 points and 15 rebounds, racking up his third double-double of the season.
Colorado hosts Oklahoma State (17-9, 6-6) at the Coors Events/Conference Center on Wednesday, Feb. 25 for the first meeting of these Big 12 opponents this season. The game is scheduled to tip-off at 8:37 p.m. and will be televised on FSN Rocky Mountain.