The Colorado Buffaloes overcame a horrible shooting game from everyone but Alec Burks to take down the Kent State Golden Flashes, 81-74 in the NIT quarterfinals. Burks was 6-8 for 15 in the first to carry the team to a 36-31 halftime lead while the rest of the Buffs shot just 10-23 for 21 points. At halftime, the Buffaloes superstar, who is battling the flu, had to receive IV fluids before returning to the court.
In the second half the Golden Flashes evened up the score and even took a three point lead before strong play from Burks and the home crowd finally enabled the Buffs to pull away. Announcer Jimmy Dykes, who kept saying that Alec was "not an NBA caliber player" (even though most draft services have him as a top 10 pick), has clearly never seen the team play as Burks almost single handedly carried the team to victory even though he was battling illness and playing out of position due to Nate Tomlinson being unavailable due to a shoulder injury.
Burks finished the game with 25 points and 10 rebounds in what, in retrospect, is going to be remembered as one of his best performances as a Buff whether he heads to the NBA or not. Andre Roberson came through with another huge game on the glass with 12 rebounds and his 13 points helped pick up the offensive slack on a night when Cory Higgins was only able to put up 13 of his own. For Kent State, forward Justin Greene lead the way with 20 points and 7 rebounds.
Colorado is now heading to New York City for the NIT semi-finals at Madison Square Garden. The Buffaloes will await the outcome of tomorrows #1 Alabama - #2 Miami game to find out who they will play on their side of the bracket. In the other two quarterfinal games taking place tomorrow, #4 Northwestern takes on #2 Washington State and #6 Charleston faces #4 Wichita State. Go Buffs!