Playing one of their best games of the season, the Colorado Buffaloes men’s basketball team let one slip away against one of the best and most respected teams in the country.
The Buffs fell to the Gonzaga Bulldogs 76-72 Monday in the first round of the 2009 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational at the Lahaina Civic Center in Maui, Hawaii.
Colorado (3-1) surprised Gonzaga (3-1) of the West Coast Conference early, taking a 40-29 lead at halftime and holding a lead as big as 15 in the first half.
However, CU couldn’t stop a streaking Gonzaga team as they went on a 15-3 run with 8:08 to go in the game to tie the game at 57.
Even with the loss, the Buffs looked good against a team that took No. 2 Michigan State to the wire last Tuesday.
CU went 26-of-49 from the field, including 7-of-15 from beyond the arc. Gonzaga on the other hand went 22-of-47 shooting and 5-for-12 from 3-point range.
However, the Bulldogs got the better of the Buffaloes from the charity stripe as they shot 19 more times than Colorado. The Zags finished 27-of-37 while CU went 13-of-18 from the free-throw line.
CU had four players finish in double figures with junior guard Cory Higgins leading the way with 19 points. Higgins finished with six rebounds, three steals and two assists as well.
The other three players in double figures for the Buffs are freshman guard Alec Burks with 11, and junior forwards Marcus Relphorde and Casey Crawford with 10 apiece.
The Bulldogs were led by Steven Gray with 27 points while Matt Bouldin had 21.
The Buffs will be back in action Tuesday in Maui as they will take on the loser of Arizona vs. Wisconsin at 2 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Sports Editor Ron Knabenbauer at Ronald.firstname.lastname@example.org.