Many times in his great collegiate career, Buff fans have wondered, "where would we be without Cory Higgins?" Today was one of those days. In a year that Higgins finally has some help in G Alec Burks, Saturday looked like a game we saw the past couple of years. With Burks struggling to find his shot, Cory Higgins took the Buffs on his back, again, and led his team to victory. In a back and forth affair, Colorado (13 - 15, 4 - 10) prevailed 75 - 72 against the Iowa State Cyclones (14 - 15, 3 - 11), a team that beat the Buffs earlier in the year back in Ames.
The 6'5" 190 pound guard from Danville, California was extremely effiecent today scoring 33 points on 12 of 15 from the field, three of four from behind the arc, six of six from the charity stripe, six rebounds, four assists, one block, one steal. Higgins' six rebounds also led the team. He was absolutely fantastic especially in the second half. Burks ended the day with 11 points, only attempting six shots.
While Burks had an off day, Higgins got some second half help from F Casey Crawford who finished with 10 points all in the last seven minutes of the game to extend the Buffs' lead to four. From there, Higgins and Burks combined to hit eight straight free throws to give the Colorado it's 13 win of the season.
Once again, Colorado continues to show why they're still a few pieces away from being able to compete night in and night out in the Big 12. The Buffs came into the game as the 324th ranked rebounding team in the nation (out of 334) and it almost lost them another game today. Iowa State had 35 rebounds with a whopping 17 of those on the offensive end. The Buffs, on the other hand, only had 21 boards, three offensive. Cyclone G Marquis Gilstrap was the benefactor of the poor rebounding effort from the Buffs, grabbing six offensive boards and cashing in 26 points, which was a career high. Iowa State's star player, Craig Brackins who torched the Buffs in their first meeting earlier this year with 27 points and 13 boards, struggled by his standards scoring 13 points and grabbing nine boards.
With the win, the Buffs move to 12 - 3 at home with two games remaining. Colorado will need to win the final two -- at Nebraska on Tuesday and at home against Texas Tech on Saturday -- to finish the regular season at 15 - 15. The Buffs are currently a nine seed in the Big 12 tournament. Finishing the season with three wins should get them an eight or nine seed which would be huge allowing them to avoid playing Baylor, Texas, Texas A&M or Oklahoma State in the first round of the tournament.
But for the Buffs to reach that goal of potentially finishing the season at the .500 mark, they will have to win on the road in the Big 12, something they have not done in the last 36 tries. Colorado will have it's best chance of the year Tuesday as they travel to Lincoln to face the Huskers, a team they have already beat handily this year and a squad that is 1 - 5 at home and 1 - 12 overall in Big 12 play this year.