The No. 19 Colorado Buffaloes nearly ruined their undefeated record Tuesday night, but instead scraped by the Texas Southern Tigers, 85-80, in double overtime.
Texas Southern was able to stave off Colorado in regulation, mainly because of Fred Sturdivant's scoring ability off the bench, sending the game into its first overtime.
Spencer Dinwiddie added to his scoring total right away for the Buffaloes, sinking two free throws to give Colorado a two-point lead to start, only to be answered by four straight Omar Strong points.
Dinwiddie would answer with two more free throws, only to be answered by Strong's three-pointer the other way to give the Tigers a 66-63 lead with 2:58 left.
Josh Scott then cut the lead to 66-65 before Madarious Gibbs missed a jumper and Askia Booker added to Colorado's lead, but Strong simply wouldn't stop.
You have to understand. He was limping around the court throughout overtime, scoring buckets in a heroic effort.
College basketball guru Ken Pomeroy couldn't believe it:
Omar Strong. Wow.— Ken Pomeroy (@kenpomeroy) November 28, 2012
Strong hit two free throws to tie the game at 68 with just over a minute remaining before Colorado took a full timeout. Out of the timeout Booker ran off a triple-screen and drained a three-point shot with 42 seconds left on the clock, putting Colorado in front, 71-68.
Texas Southern called a timeout on its next possession, stopping the clock with 34 ticks left. Strong missed a trey following the break, and Sturdivant couldn't finish on a layup, but the Tigers weren't quite done.
Lawrence Johnson-Danner hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left in overtime, tying the game at 71 and forcing a second extra frame.
In the second overtime, Colorado looked more comfortable. Scott scored the first bucket, and Strong missed his first look. Scott followed that with another bucket and a free throw, putting the Buffaloes in front, 76-71.
From there, the Buffaloes finally seized control. Xavier Johnson knocked down two free throws to put the team in front by six with just over three minutes remaining, and the team played sound defense to hang on.
Even though his team was out of it in the end, Strong still managed to score five more points. His effort was incredible and the highlight of the entire game.
Strong ended up scoring 39 points in his team's losing effort, but his effort was incredible. He didn't dish out a single assist, but he scored the buckets that his team needed to maintain its lead throughout the game. He received 12 points from Sturdivant off the bench, but he was left on his own otherwise.
Scott's production in the second overtime wound up making the difference for the Buffaloes. Because Andre Roberson fouled out, someone had to carry the torch on the offensive end and he did.
The Buffaloes would have preferred a more decisive win, but they'll take the victory nonetheless. Games like this can build character, even if it was against a much-lesser opponent.
If you're Texas Southern, it's hard not to be proud. Only nine players were dressed for the game, yet they stuck with a Top 25 team for 50 minutes. It wasn't a win, but it's about as much as anyone could have expected from an overmatched team.
Colorado's next opponent is Wyoming, while Texas Southern will seek an upset over San Diego State in its next contest.