Colorado holds off UNLV
Albuquerque, NM (Sports Network) - Askia Booker scored 16 points, Austin Dufault had 14 and Colorado held on to upset UNLV, 68-64, on Thursday for its first NCAA Tournament win in 15 years.
The Buffaloes (24-11) made the dance only after winning the Pac-12 Tournament for a No. 11 seed but are now headed to the next round, where they will play third-seeded Baylor on Saturday.
Carlon Brown had 12 points and Andre Roberson also scored 12 with 16 rebounds for Colorado, which withstood a furious charge by UNLV down the stretch after building a double-digit lead.
Anthony Marshall scored 15 points to lead the Runnin' Rebels (26-9), seeded sixth in the South Region, while Justin Hawkins had 11 and Mike Moser and Oscar Bellfield both scored 10.
Moser, who averaged a team-best 14.1 points entering the game, shot 4-of-15.
The Buffaloes earned their first win in the NCAAs since 1997, when they beat Indiana in the first round then lost to North Carolina in Dean Smith's 877th career win, which was a record at the time.
In the tournament for the first time since 2003, when Michigan State knocked them out, the Buffaloes won despite committing 23 turnovers.
They were cruising, up 20 points with 13 minutes remaining before UNLV fought back.
"NCAA Tournament games shouldn't be easy, but we didn't handle the lead in the second half as well as we'd like to," said Colorado coach Tad Boyle. "The one thing about our team we've shown is a toughness and a resiliency all year. We said at halftime they'd make a run on us, and they did."
The Rebels used bursts of 6-0 and 14-0 to spark an overall run of 22-4 that got them within 57-55 on Hawkins' three-pointer from the left corner with 4:19 remaining.
Suddenly scrambling, Colorado just managed to hang on. Roberson made 1-of-2 at the line to stop the 14-0 run and Brown threw down a jitters-killing dunk in transition for a 60-55 lead inside 2 1/2 minutes.
"That's a big confidence booster when you see your teammate throw the ball down like that," said Booker. "It gets the crowd into it as well and builds a little bit of momentum going into the final two minutes."
Later, three straight foul shots by Roberson extended the advantage to seven points, but Hawkins hit another three from the same corner to get UNLV within 63-59 with around 40 seconds left.
The Buffaloes didn't hit all their free throws down the stretch, but they made enough. Spencer Dinwiddie was good on 4-of-6 in a 19-second span before Chace Stanback's three-pointer made it a 67-64 game for UNLV.
Colorado, with 8.4 seconds left, got the ball to Dinwiddie again and he made 1-of-2 at the line with 5.5 seconds on the clock for a four-point lead and the final margin.
Earlier, Colorado opened the game on a 19-7 run and had a 36-25 lead at halftime.
"Everything we'll do from now until the start of next season will be getting us ready to get back into the tournament," said UNLV coach Dave Rice. "I'm very proud of our group this year. We accomplished a lot. We just did not get off to a very good start tonight."
The Buffaloes haven't won two games in the NCAA Tournament since 1955, when they went 3-1 to make the Final Four...UNLV finished third in the Mountain West regular season standing behind co-champs New Mexico and San Diego State.
03/16 02:01:17 ET