Familiar faces abound, Team Colorado just barely escaped with a thrilling win in the first round of The Tournament (TBT). The Colorado Buffaloes alumni have countless played tight games in their past five entrances in this single-elimination bid. They need every ounce of that experience in this thrilling 96-93 victory.
The Buffaloes alumni, the runners-up of the 2016 TBT, looked dominant compared to the Kansas State alumni. Colorado has all sorts of size and skill on the floor, plus enough shooting and playmaking to make everything fit together. Clearly the better team, Team Colorado went on a commanding run to take a 14-point into the half.
The alumni continued that dominance in the second half. Roby kept on scoring, Knicks legend Chris Copeland was a lot to deal with, and even Xavier Johnson got it going. I think Tory Miller hit a three-pointer, which I personally vibe with. Marcus Hall struggled, but they had enough offense to build continually build that lead.
If there is one recurring problem with Team Colorado, however, it’s that they tend to collapse. In the TBT final in 2016, they blew a 20-point halftime lead. In almost every game leading up to the final, they barely closed it out after leading much of the game. Friday night was more of the same.
TBT instituted a unique rule that there is no exact time limit in the games. Instead, they have an “Elam Ending,” which is a target score in which the first team to that number wins. When Colorado took a 87-73 lead late in the game, the target score was 95. And so the Buffs had a 14-point lead and just needed a few baskets to win, so of course their offense broke and the K-State alum stormed back.
Finally, with the Buffs leading 94-93, they just needed one more basket to win. That’s when Shannon Sharpe, a cult hero from the Jeff Bzdelik days, powered through with a spin and hit a contorted layup to get the win.
Next up Team Colorado is their second round game on Saturday, July 27th (that’s today!) at 12 p.m. If you read this in time and can tune in, the game airs on ESPN.