Midnight didn’t end the University of Colorado’s time at the dance; they got thrown out.
However you want to look at it, the season is over for the University of Colorado men’s basketball team. The University of Pittsburgh Panthers, led by senior forward Talib Zanna, dropped CU 77-48 on the opening day of the NCAA tournament.
In a game where the Buffs had the opportunity to silence their critics, from being over-seeded to not being able to play without junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie, Pitt opened on a 13-0 run.
CU’s offense looked flustered out of the gate by Pittsburgh’s double teams and their ability to hedge the Buffs’ on-ball screens. Sophomore center Josh Scott led CU, finishing with 14 points on 4-7 shooting, but never really got the opportunity to attack the basket like he’s done throughout this season.
CU had 17 turnovers and five assists for the game. Those turnovers proved to be costly, as Pittsburgh scored 12 points off turnovers in the first half alone. Zanna made just about every shot he tried, going 6-7 on the day, while teammates Lamar Patterson and Cameron Wright poured in 10 and 11 points, torching CU’s defense in the process.
While ending the season this way was a tough pill to swallow for many Colorado fans, there are silver linings to recognize. In his fourth year as head coach, Tad Boyle dropped to 1-3 in NCAA tournament play, but finished the season 23-12, which is the third-highest win total in school history.
Seniors and fan favorites Ben Mills and Beau Gamble got some minutes on the court in their final game, and Gamble even hit a three-pointer at the final buzzer, which he’ll remember forever.
“I can tell my kids I hit a buzzer-beater in March Madness,” Gamble said afterward.
Other good news for Buffs fans: the current roster is one of the youngest Boyle has coached at Colorado. With no one-and-dones on the roster and the possibility of Spencer Dinwiddie coming back, this team should return better than ever next fall. Sophomore guard Xavier Talton wrote on Twitter after the game:
“We will be back though, mark my words. This will sit in my stomach until the next time we take the court.”
Contact CU Independent staff writer Andrew Haubner at firstname.lastname@example.org.