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After a bad loss on Thursday night against Stanford, the Colorado Buffaloes sent their seniors off with a huge win.
The Buffs beat the Pac-12 leading University of California Bears 70-57 Sunday afternoon in front of a sellout crowd in their final game in the Coors Events Center for the 2012 season. The Buffs are now 19-9 (11-5 Pac-12) and the Bears fall to 23-7 (13-4 Pac-12).
“That’s what senior day is supposed to be about,” said Colorado head coach Tad Boyle. “The energy, the effort, and we made plays on offense when we had to make plays on offense.”
The Buffs shot 43.5 percent from the field, going 9-of-12 from the free throw line and 7-of-20 from behind the three-point arc. They were also dominant on the offensive glass, grabbing 13 offensive rebounds, 10 of which came in the second half.
Cal shot 38 percent from the field, hitting 14-of-17 free throws and 5-of-16 three-pointers.
Cal’s sophomore guard Allen Crabbe led all scorers with 16 points and three rebounds. Sophomore guard Justin Cobbs scored 15 points for the Bears, and senior forward Harper Kamp scored 13.
The Buffs had two players with 15 points, senior forward Austin Dufault and freshman guard Spencer Dinwiddie. Senior guard Nate Tomlinson had 11 points, and sophomore forward Andre Roberson had eight points and 15 rebounds.
The Buffs hit the first two shots of the game; both starting seniors, Tomlinson and Dufault, got the early points. The 5-0 lead didn’t last long, though, as the Bears answered with five points of their own.
Things remained tight throughout most of the first half, but the Buffs only surrendered the lead once after Crabbe hit an 18-footer to give the Bears a 12-11 lead with 11:16 left.
The Buffs pushed from there, stretching the lead to as many as 10 points. But the Bears kept hanging around.
At the half, the Buffs led 32-25.
Cal scored to open the second half, cutting the lead to five points, but the Buffs responded with a Dinwiddie three-pointer. The teams traded baskets from there, until the Buffs came up a with a few defensive stops and took a 43-33 lead with 14:58 left.
Colorado was ahead by at least six points for the rest of the game. The Buffs came up with more defensive stops and hit some big shots down the stretch to keep the Bears out of reach of a win.
With the crowd going nuts, Tomlinson and Dufault hit the Buffs’ final two shots, finishing off their last college home game in style.
After the game, Tomlinson said this win ranks up there with the best wins he’s had in his time with the Buffs.
“It was unreal,” Tomlinson said. “The ride that me and A.D. [Austin Dufault] have been on since we’ve been here, no better way. We lost bad on Thursday night, and it’s fitting we came out and beat the No. 1 team in the league.”
Dufault said the Buffs learned to finish out their game after losing to Cal earlier this season in Berkeley.
“We took a lot from the game at Cal about finishing it out,” Dufault said. “We were up seven in both games at halftime, and tonight we just took the initiative to finish it.”
The Bear’s senior guard Jorge Gutierrez has been one of the top players in the Pac-12, averaging 13.5 points-per-game and 5.3 rebounds-per-game. On Sunday, the Buffs held Gutierrez scoreless.
After the game, Boyle praised the defense Dinwiddie played on Gutierrez and his team’s defense as a whole.
“Spencer, I thought, was terrific on Jorge, and I thought our perimeter defense today was terrific,” Boyle said.
The Buffs travel to the state of Oregon to finish out their season. They will take on the University of Oregon Thursday, Mar. 1 at 8:30 p.m. in Eugene and Oregon State University Saturday, Mar. 3 in Corvallis at 2 p.m.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Mark McNeillie at Mark.email@example.com.