Last surge sends Colorado past Boise State in First Four

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 21 Mar, 2024 at 05:03 AM

Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

DAYTON, Ohio -- Tristan da Silva sparked a second-half rally with a key 3-pointer and finished with a game-high 20 points to lead Colorado to a 60-53 win over Boise State on Wednesday in an NCAA Tournament First Four game.

It was the ninth win in 10 games for Colorado, which had won eight straight before dropping the Pac-12 tournament final to Oregon. The Buffaloes (25-10) advance as a No. 10 seed to oppose seventh-seeded Florida on Friday in a South Region game at Indianapolis.

KJ Simpson added 19 and 11 rebounds for the Buffaloes, who improved to 12-17 all-time in the NCAA Tournament.

In a game that featured several momentum swings and two lead changes in the second half, Boise State took a 49-45 edge with 4:31 left on a Chibuzo Agbo basket.

The Buffaloes scored the next 11 points, starting with a da Silva 3-pointer that was followed by four straight points from Simpson.

Agbo had 17 points and Roddie Anderson III chipped in with 14 for Boise State (22-11), which is winless in 10 all-time NCAA Tournament appearances.

Colorado's Eddie Lampkin corralled an offensive rebound off a short shot from J'Vonne Hadley and put the ball in with 32.8 seconds left as the shot clock expired, putting the Buffaloes up 54-49.

The game marked the conclusion of the annual First Four opener to the NCAA Tournament at the University of Dayton Arena. A crowd of 12,039 witnessed Grambling State beat Montana State 88-81 in overtime during the first game to advance to play top-seeded Purdue in the Midwest Region.

The second game featured a coaching showdown between two longtime friends. Boise State's Leon Rice and Colorado's Tad Boyle have known each other for 35 years and have monitored each other's programs closely.

The familiarity produced a defensive battle between two teams that entered the game averaging at least 75 points per game.

"I knew it was going to be a battle against these guys," Boyle said. "You just knew from watching film and watching that team all year, they've got some tough-minded guys. They're a quality program."

Thanks to tight defense and foul trouble, Colorado managed to hold Boise State's leading scorer, Tyson Degenhart, scoreless in the first half and limited him to six points for the game. Degenhart came in averaging 17 points per contest.

Boise State shot 34.5 percent from 3-point range this season but shot just 2-for-18 (11.1 percent) from beyond the arc in the loss.

"These guys battled and battled even when the shots weren't dropping," Rice said. "We competed on the glass, we guarded really well. And it was two really good defensive teams. And they made a couple of crucial plays down the stretch that got just enough gap that they were able to finish."

Colorado won the game at the free-throw line, converting 14 of 15 chances while Boise State had just six free throws, making five.

--Mike Petraglia, Field Level Media