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Colorado concludes season with NIT loss

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The Buffs fell 79-74 to UCF in the first round of the NIT.

NCAA Basketball: Pac-12 Conference Tournament-Colorado vs Washington State Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado’s up-and-down season was good enough for an NIT bid, but despite Derrick White’s stellar performance, the Buffaloes weren’t quite good enough to continue their season. They fell 79-74 to the UCF Golden Knights.

This game was always going to be about Derrick White. It seems that most Buffs fans were excited to play in the NIT because they would get to watch White at least once more before his eligibility expires. In his final game tonight, White was incredible as he’s been all season.

As the Buffs struggled early, as they usually do, White put the team on his back, as he usually does. The totality of Colorado’s offense seemed to come directly from White as he had 30 points, 6 assists and 6 rebounds.

Colorado’s defense, meanwhile, struggled against perimeter shooting, which is as much of a March tradition as anything else in Boulder. UCF seemed to hit every three-pointer they took, including and especially on wild shots that had no business near the net. They finished with 12-22 shooting from three, which even more impressive considering the high-difficulty shots they attempted.

Derrick White struggled a bit in the middle of the second half, and as the offense cratered resultingly, UCF continued hitting tough shots and built up a sizable lead. White found his stroke again and was helped by Josh Fortune (!) as the Buffs cut that lead, but more crazy shots fell for UCF and they rebuilt a 13-point lead with just over two minutes left.

The season appeared to over when the Golden Knights took that commanding late lead, but the Buffs didn’t want to end their season on that ugly court in Orlando. CU came back with a series of made threes and missed UCF free throws, but it was unfortunately too little, too late.

The Buffs are now eliminated from the NIT and that concludes their 2016-17 season. With that, we say goodbye to seniors Xavier Johnson, Josh Fortune, Wesley Gordon and Derrick White. We wish them the best of luck as they continue their basketball careers and move on to the next stages of their lives.

We also move on from this season to next. Colorado should have returning experience, but they will be overloaded with talented youngsters. Tad Boyle secured his best ever recruiting class and soon enough we’ll see D’Shawn Schwartz, Evan Battey and Tyler Bey suit for the Buffs. There might not be as many wins next season as this, but it should be fun nonetheless.