Colorado knocks off Baylor in NCAA tourney rematch
Charleston, SC (Sports Network) - Eight months later, a different tournament and a different result.
Baylor beat Colorado in the NCAA Tournament last March, but Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie made sure the Buffaloes gained a small measure of revenge with a 60-58 victory over the 16th-ranked Bears in Friday's semifinals of the Charleston Classic.
"I think it was two teams that wanted to win bad that didn't have postseason execution, but had early-season execution," Baylor head coach Scott Drew said.
Booker scored 16 of his 19 points in the first half to help Colorado build a lead and Dinwiddie made some big plays down the stretch on his way to 11 points, as the Buffs (3-0) withstood some awful free throw shooting to advance to Sunday's championship game against Murray State.
"In our first year (at CU), we're up 10 at the half down there, we let one slip away," Colorado head coach Tad Boyle said. "Last year in the NCAA Tournament we had another chance ... it was a tie game with four or five minutes to go and we didn't finish it off."
Pierre Jackson hit two from the line with 19.8 seconds left to pull Baylor within 59-58 and Booker made only the first of a 1-and-1 chance at the other end to give the Bears a chance for the win or tie.
A.J. Walton drove to the basket, but was unable to convert a contested layup and Andre Roberson came up with the rebound with four seconds remaining. Roberson missed two from the line, but the rebound on the second miss was batted around and Baylor was given possession out of bounds with exactly one second left.
In a play remarkably similar to Christian Laettner's winning shot for Duke in the 1992 NCAA Tournament against Kentucky, the long inbound pass from under the basket was caught at the opposing foul line by Isaiah Austin. But unlike Laettner, Austin's turnaround jumper bounced off the rim as time expired.
Cory Jefferson led Baylor (3-1) with 17 points and Jackson, after a 31-point effort in the Bears' win Thursday against Boston College, managed only 12.
Baylor earned an 80-63 win over the Buffaloes in last year's NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16. Brady Heslip hit nine threes in that contest, but on Friday he was just 1-of-5 from beyond the arc and finished with seven points overall.
Heslip opened the game with a bucket, but was held scoreless for the rest of a tight first half. Baylor opened a 14-9 lead and held a 22-17 edge with just over eight minutes left after a Jackson triple.
Colorado, though, kept it close and scored the final eight points of the half to grab a 35-30 advantage at the break. Booker hit a trey and another jumper in the final minute.
The Bears started the second half with a 7-2 run to tie the game, and it remained close for the remainder of the contest.
Heslip's jumper pulled Baylor within 52-51 with just under six minutes left and the Bears had a chance for the lead on their next trip. Dinwiddie, however, forced a turnover then hit a long three. He added another bucket on Colorado's next possession for a 57-51 advantage with just over four minutes remaining.
Baylor trimmed the deficit to three before a Dinwiddie driving layup made it 59-54. Jackson answered with a quick basket, then missed from beyond the arc with a chance to tie for Baylor after Roberson had missed the front end of a 1-and-1.
Only Colorado's dismal effort from the stripe kept Baylor in it. The Buffs were 4-of-18 overall and twice failed on the front end of 1-and-1's in the final minute.
Jefferson was perfect on seven field goal attempts for Baylor and grabbed nine rebounds in defeat. The remaining Baylor starters were a combined 10-of-38 from the floor, including Jackson's 3-for-11 effort ... Austin finished with eight points and 10 boards ... Jackson scored in double figures for the 12th straight game ... Roberson finished with seven points and 12 rebounds ... The Buffs, who left the Big 12 for the Pac-12 after the 2010-11 season, own a 16-10 all-time mark against the Bears.