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Team Colorado pulls off late victory, advances to Elite Eight

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Team Colorado advances to Elite Eight of TBT, to play Utah tomorrow at 4 p.m. on ESPNU

Pac 12 Basketball Tournament - Colorado v Oregon Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

When the final buzzer sounded at approximately 2 p.m. (MST), Team Colorado stood there in momentary disbelief, but with permanent pride. The Buffs’ alumni was victorious in Philadelphia after upsetting the heavily favored Team 23 and advance to the quarterfinals of The Basketball Tournament.

The final scoreline of 78-73 tells the tale of the ferocious battle in which both warriors, both laden with previous battle wounds that hadn’t yet turned to scars, were unwilling to succumb to their opponent's perceived savagery. The lead went back and forth and all game, so it appears. The game was a beauty to behold in which both offenses couldn’t miss, nor could they decide to whomever was owed the ball, so it may seem.

That wasn’t exactly what happened.

The back and forth game of yore was still a possibility early on as each team traded misses and makes ticks for tacks. Dominique Coleman, a player from the Patton Administration, got things going for the Buffs as he had a handful of buckets early on. Marcus Hall also made his presence felt immediately, as he went to continually drove to the rim to create chances for himself and others.

After Coleman and Hall’s success, Austin Dufault set the tone offensively, getting blocked on one shot and airballing the next. (Non-sequitur: Coleman and Hall should form a Coleman Hell cover band.) Even without much offensive success in the following minutes, Team Colorado built their lead by letting Team 23 play themselves out of the game playing exceptional team defense.

Around this time, I tweeted a really funny joke that nobody else thought was funny.

Team 23 depends almost entirely on three-pointers, but when their threes weren’t falling, they couldn’t generate any offense whatsoever. Leading man Davin White couldn’t buy a bucket, but he kept shooting no matter. He finished the second half with a single point on double-digit shot attempts.

Whilst Team 23 were missing all the shots they could take — which wasn’t that many, considering how many turnovers they have — Team Colorado overcame their own sloppiness to go on a serious offensive run. In a couple of minutes, Colorado went from a five-point lead to a seventeen-point lead. (I don’t have actual stats so you’ll just have to trust my best guess.) Courtesy of those buckets was fan favorite Levi Knutson. In about 90 seconds, Knutson made three from deep. For good measure, Dufault recovered from his rough start to make a couple of threes in succession.

Around this time, I tweeted a really funny joke that nobody else thought was funny.

At the end of this run, it donned on me and Ryan Koenigsberg, "Where is Richard Roby?" The all-time points scored co-leader had suffered a MCL strain and was unavailable to play. It seemed they wouldn’t even need him, after all.

Team Colorado entered halftime with a 45-34 lead, but some lad with powers of unbelievable foresight warned all of CU faithful with this poorly worded tweet:

So as to appease the all-powerful fortune teller, Team Colorado allowed a momentum-shifting run immediately out of the break (à la UConn 2016, Illinois 2013, etc.). With the lead suddenly within reach, Team 23 upped their defensive pressure from "please stop fouling me" to "seriously, stop hacking". Team Colorado didn’t know how to respond, so they eliminated the threat of getting fouled on shots by giving the ball away before they had a chance to shoot.

In, what, ten minutes Team Colorado’s lead was gone and they had more turnovers than second half points. The following five minutes was a competition to see which team could have the most turnovers and fouls, and with sheer determination, Team Colorado won.

Around this time, I tweeted a really funny joke that nobody else thought was funny.

The final five minutes minutes were no less sloppy than the fifteen prior, but things started going Team Colorado’s way late. Dominique Coleman, whose leg had been injured just before half time, continued his strong performance with a pair of clutch free throws to bring the Buffs within one. After a defensive stop, Marcus Hall hit a three-pointer to put them ahead 73-71 with 90 seconds to play. A breakaway layup from Dufault and a forced turnover all but sealed the win for the Buffs. After a Marcus Relphorde make, Team 23 missed a pair of free throws. Team Colorado was then free to dribble out the clock and celebrate reaching the Elite Eight.

Team Colorado tried everything they could to give Team 23 the comeback win, but at the end of the day, they held on to lock up a big, big win. Their bid for the $2,000,000 grand prize is still within reach. To get a step closer, they’ll have to win their Elite Eight matchup against Team Utah (Utah alumni). That game, which can be a fitting extension of CU’s pseudo-rivalry with Utah, will take place tomorrow, but the game time and channel remain TBD. Expect an update here in the coming hours.

UPDATE: Team Colorado will play Team Utah at 4 p.m. (MST) aired on ESPNU.