Aggies Rally Past Buffs, 72-66
BOULDER – For the 11th time this season, it was another close call for the University of Colorado men's basketball team and for the 11th time, the outcome was the same. Wednesday night in front on the home crowd for the final time this season on Senior Night, the Buffaloes fell to Texas A&M, 72-66 at the Coors Events Center.
Despite leading at half for the first time all season in Big 12 play, the Buffaloes just could not hang on to their lead as they dropped their eighth single-digit loss in conference play (5.2 average).
"There were a lot of good things we did; 10 turnovers, 17 assists, and 10 steals, but we missed foul shots and took possessions off defensively," CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik said. "We lost [B.J.] Holmes and [Josh] Carter three or four times. It all adds up over the course of a game. We take possessions off mentally and we have very little margin for error."
The Buffs (9-20, 1-14 Big 12) capitalized on 16 first-half Aggie turnovers, netting 24 of their 32 points in the first half off A&M giveaways. But in the next 20 minutes of play, the Aggies only gave the ball away three times. CU, who had recorded nine steals in the first, only tallied one steal in the second half of the game.
The Buffs remained on top of the scoreboard for most of the game, however the Aggies (22-8, 8-7) pulled ahead when it mattered most.
It was the Aggies sixth win over CU since 2005.
Colorado jumped out to an early lead and held onto it throughout the entire first half. Less than six minutes into the game, the Buffs had pulled ahead to an 11-point lead. During this time, CU forced six A&M turnovers and netted eight of its points off steals.
Freshman Toby Veal capped off the 13-2 Buffalo run with a dunk after he stole the ball from the Aggies to put Colorado at its biggest advantage of the game. The Buffs' play during the rest of the half was just as intense and fast-paced as the first few minutes holding no less than a 5-point lead until halftime and entered the locker room at half atop 32-24.
But the first five minutes of the second half belonged to the visitors as they came at the Buffs with a 13-2 run of their own to give themselves a 37-34 lead. CU played A&M tight for the next three minutes before gaining an eight-point lead with just 5:54 left.
The Buffs saw their lead dwindle as they were outscored 16-2 over the next 3:27. During this time, CU was also held scoreless over the 2:45 span. The Aggies' run included a rare 4-point play after redshirt sophomore Casey Crawford fouled A&M's B.J. Holmes on a 3-pointer; Holmes made the trey and the ensuing free throw.
The Aggies held the lead for the final 4:15 of the game, and although Colorado came within two points after sophomore Casey Crawford hit a deep three with 17 seconds left, A&M stayed on top until the final buzzer sounded.
Higgins led the Buffs with 27 points off of 10-for-18 shooting, including two 3-pointers and five free throws.
CU's bench was also huge in tonight's game contributing 29 of Colorado's 66 points. Crawford led the bench with a Big 12 personal best 16 points, including three treys, in a season-high 30 minutes played. Veal recorded a career-high 10 points and three steals in only 14 minutes.
Texas A&M was led by four players in double digits, Josh Carter (18 points), B.J. Holmes (16), Donald Sloan (14), and Derrick Roland (12).
Colorado heads to Kansas State to take on the Wildcats in the team's last regular season game on Saturday, March 7 at 11:30 a.m. (MST). The game will be televised by Altitude Sports & Entertainment