Senior guard Dwight Thorne II got the best send off a player could ask for.
The Colorado Buffaloes (15-15, 6-10 Big 12) won their final game of the season at the Coors Event Center Saturday, beating the Texas Tech Red Raiders 101-90.
“We love Dwight and he has been a huge part of this program for the past four years,” said junior guard Cory Higgins. “We definitely wanted to send him out on a high note.”
The Buffs were led in scoring by Higgins, who had 30 points. He shot nine of 10 from the floor, and 11 of 15 from the foul line in the game. Freshman guard Alec Burks followed with 24 points, shooting eight of 12 from the field. Overall the team shot 58.8 percent in the game and 70.8 percent from the line.
Coming into the game, Burks was just 17 points shy of Colorado’s freshman scoring record, but his 24 points set a new record at 488 points.
After the game Burks described his feelings on the new record.
“It means a lot,” Burks said. “It means a great freshman performance, so it means a great deal to me to break that record.”
Senior guard Nick Okorie led Texas Tech (16-14, 4-12 Big 12), who had 34 points, 11 of 16 from the floor. Junior forward Mike Singletary had 21 points, going nine of 19 on field goals, and three of six from the line. The Red Raiders shot 60.7 percent from the line and 50.8 percent from the field in the game.
Texas Tech is now on a seven game losing streak heading into the Big 12 tournament.
“We were sitting at four-five,” said Texas Tech head coach Pat Knight. “It’s been a bad job for three weeks.”
Neither team came out of the gate fast, with only two baskets scored in the first two minutes of the game.
Colorado slowly started taking control. Texas Tech had 10 turnovers in the first half, and Colorado was almost perfect from the line with them going 15 of 16. A 16-3 run stretched the Buffs lead to 18, and Tech looked incapable of coming back. Colorado took an 18-point lead into the locker room at halftime, the largest gap for the Buffs this season in Big 12 play.
Knight said he recognized the problems that his team was having early on.
“The first half we got down way too much,” Knight said. “The first half was brutal.”
Tech came out with a little more fire in the second half and cut the lead down to nine at one point. However Higgins’ 22 second half points were enough to keep the lead, but it looked shaky at times.
“We got off to a great start,” said Colorado head coach Jeff Bzdelik. “We were able to score; we have to find a way to defend them better.”
Colorado now looks ahead to the Big 12 tournament in Kansas City, Mo. Their first game will be a rematch against the Red Raiders on Wednesday.
“We know how they guard and their matchups, so we know how they are going to play,” said junior forward Casey Crawford. “They’re probably going to change some things a little bit because we beat them tonight, but we have a good idea of how to stop them, and how to beat them.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mark McNeillie at Mark.firstname.lastname@example.org