The Colorado Buffaloes lost their third straight game on Monday as they fell to the SMU Mustangs 70-67 in Dallas, Texas.
CU is now 1-4 this season away from the Coors Events Center.
“I wish I had confidence in our bench, but people don’t see what I see in practice,” said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik after the game. “They need to step up and help because we run out of gas and get a step slow in parts of the game and that hurts us.”
The Buffs (7-6) fell down as much as nine in the first half, but came away ahead at halftime thanks to a two-point jumper by Casey Crawford as time expired, to give CU the 33-32 lead.
However, the Buffs couldn’t continue that momentum to start the second as the Mustangs (5-7) took control for most of the half.
CU would get the game down to within two with 4.8 seconds remaining as Nate Tomlinson was fouled on a two-point shot.
Tomlinson finished with 10 points, two rebounds, five assists, and one steal on the night.
Colorado would then foul SMU’s Bamba Fall hoping they would get one more chance to tie the game. They would as Fall would miss one of his two free throws to give the Buffs life.
However, a last minute three by Tomlinson would fall short as it hit the front of the rim to give SMU redemption after losing to the Buffs in Boulder last season.
CU had five players who finished in double-digits in points.
Dwight Thorne II led the Buffs in points with 18. He also had three rebounds and two assists.
Cory Higgins, CU’s leading scorer for the season, finished with 11 points, six rebounds, six assists, and four steals.
Higgins also went four-for-four from the free-throw line, with two of those shots being records as he hit his 39th and 40th straight free throw, a school and Big 12 record.
The previous Big 12 record holder was Joey Graham of Oklahoma State when he accomplished the feat in the 2004-05 season.
Other CU players who hit double-digits in points included senior Jermyl Jackson Wilson with 10 and freshman Austin Dufault with 13. Dufault also finished with a team-high seven rebounds.
SMU on the other hand had four players in double-digits in points, as Derek Williams led the Mustangs with 14. Williams also finished with two rebounds, four assists, and three steals.
Other notables for the Mustangs included Fall who finished with 13 points and a game high 11 rebounds, Paul McCoy with 11 points, and Mouhammad Faye with 10 points.
Colorado will have two days off before they host Western State College on Wednesday while SMU will host University of Texas at El Paso on Saturday.
Rainbow Classic Recap
On Dec. 28-30, CU traveled to Honolulu, Hi. to take part in the Rainbow Classic hosted by the University of Hawaii.
CU placed fourth with a 1-2 record. Their only win came on opening day as they beat Coppin State 80-63.
The Buffaloes would lose a heartbreaker the next night to keep them out of the Championship game, losing to Buffalo 62-60.
In the third place game, Colorado would lose 84-59 to a much better Vermont team as they settled with the fourth place finish.
Higgins was named to the All-Tournament Team leading the Buffs in scoring in all three games averaging 18 points.
Colorado plans on returning to the classic next season.