It seemed as if Colorado’s men basketball team had no business being anywhere close to Colorado State Wednesday night in Fort Collins.
At least that’s what CU Coach Tad Boyle thought not long after Nate Tomlinson’s last-second three rimmed out, sealing the Buffs’ one-point loss, 64-65, at the hands of the rival Rams.
“I have no idea how we had a chance to win,” said Boyle, after an outing where the Buffs shot a dismal 45 percent from the free throw line. “I told the guys, ‘I don’t fault your competitiveness, I don’t fault your desire, I don’t fault your will to win. What I fault is our execution.”
Execution was indeed an issue for the Buffs (4-3), who went 21 for 57 from the field, but their will to win almost made up for it.
After Austin Dufault nailed a three-pointer to cut the deficit to one, CU forced the Rams to take two straight timeouts, as CSU was unable to inbound the ball. After the second timeout, Tomlinson stole a pass from the corner of the court, and converted a layup to give CU a one-point lead with time dwindling down.
However, the Rams converted on the other end with just over 10 seconds remaining and called timeout to set up their defense. Out of the timeout, Colorado State pressed and forced Tomlinson into taking a contested three pointer at the buzzer, giving CSU their second victory over the Buffs in three years.
Dufault and freshman Spencer Dinwiddie seemed to be the only effective players on the offensive end for the Buffs Wednesday night. Dufault had 13 points and Dinwiddie added 16, shooting a combined 61 percent from the field. The rest of the Buffs shot a cool 26 percent, putting nails in what ultimately became CU’s coffin.
The Buffs have to wait until next Wednesday to return to the court, facing Fresno State at home, where CU has won 26 consecutive non-conference home games, dating back to the 2008-09 season.