Colorado bolted the Big 12, and it still couldn't get away from Baylor. The Buffaloes' magical March run that included four wins in four...
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Colorado bolted the Big 12, and it still couldn’t get away from Baylor.
The Buffaloes’ magical March run that included four wins in four nights to win the Pac-12 tournament title in their first year in the expanded league and a win over UNLV in their NCAA opener came to a grinding halt Saturday night.
The Bears ended Colorado’s season with a 19-3 game-ending run to turn a close contest into an 80-63 rout, led by Brady Heslip’s bevy of three-pointers.
By game’s end, the Bears’ fans — quiet when it was 61-60 with 7:46 left — were deliriously chanting “Big 12 rejects” at their former conference brethren.
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“We came up short tonight,” Buffs coach Tad Boyle said. “In the second half, we couldn’t make a shot, couldn’t get our offense going, especially when they went to zone. That kind of changed the game.
“Tell you what, the fight and determination and the grit these guys have shown over the last 10 to 12 days is inspiring to me. I’m just very, very proud of our four seniors and the way they’ve handled themselves all year.”
On this night, though, Colorado couldn’t handle Heslip, who scored all of his career-high 27 of his points from beyond the arc, sinking 9 of 12 three-pointers.
“Once he got going, it was almost impossible to stop,” Colorado’s Carlon Brown said.
Thanks to Heslip, the Bears (29-7) advanced to the South Regional semifinals, their second trip to the final 16 in three seasons. They’ll play the winner between Xavier and Lehigh next Friday in Atlanta.
Heslip made six threes in the first half to keep his cold-shooting teammates close. Then, he helped break open a tight game late. His three-pointer with 6:56 left came in the early stages of Baylor’s 19-3 run to close the game. And it was contagious. Shortly after that make, Pierre Jackson (15 points, 10 assists) hit one from 3 feet behind the arc.
Then Heslip, not to be outdone, made No. 9 — leaving him two short of the tournament record set by Jeff Fryer of Loyola Marymount in 1990.
The Buffs ran out of gas after Dufault’s drive to the hoop made it 61-60, Bears, with 7:46 left. But they weren’t about to blame their draining run through the Pac-12 tournament for sapping their strength and stamina at The Pit after a spirited first 32 minutes.
“We’re not a team of excuses, so we’re not going to say that’s the reason,” Brown said. “We just didn’t make shots when we needed to make shots. Turned the ball over so many times in key moments of the game. Really, that zone stifled us.”
No. 4 Indiana 62,
No. 12 Va. Commonwealth 61
In Portland, Will Sheehey made a 15-footer from the baseline with 12.7 seconds left after a shot was blocked right to him, and the fourth-seeded Hoosiers rallied to beat 12th-seeded Virginia Commonwealth 63-61 in the third round of the NCAA tournament on Saturday.
Rob Brandenberg got a great look at a potential winning three-pointer but it rimmed off at the buzzer, ending Shaka Smart’s bid to coach the Rams to another surprising March run.
“I don’t get over games like this. I didn’t get over the Butler game last year,” Smart said. “You’ve just got to move on. What’s over is over.”
Indiana advanced to the round of 16 for the first time in a decade and just four years after Tom Crean inherited a decimated program.
“All college basketball teams work really hard,” Crean said. “But these guys have had to come from a long way, a long way, and I’m proud of them.”
The Hoosiers trailed by as many as nine in the second half and were down 59-53 with six minutes remaining before closing with a 10-2 run, limiting VCU to one basket by Darius Theus with 2:23 to go.
Christian Watford led Indiana (27-8) with 16 points and Cody Zeller added 14.
No. 1 Kentucky 87,
No. 8 Iowa State 71
In Louisville, Ky., freshman Marquis Teague scored a career-high 24 points and the Wildcats put together another complete performance with a dominating second-half run in defeating Iowa State.
The Wildcats (34-2) used a 20-2 burst to break away from a tie and will next face Indiana on Friday.
Iowa State (23-11) outscored UK in the paint but made just two of its first 18 three-point shots and just three overall. That wasn’t nearly enough support for star Royce White, who led the Cyclones with 23 points and nine rebounds.
“Our biggest strength is the three-point shot, and we go 3 for 22,” coach Fred Hoiberg said. “We’re not going to win very many games when we shoot the ball like that.”