Nov. 28, 2004
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - Sunday's men's basketball matinee matchup between Northwestern and Colorado was not well-attended -- you can thank a driving blizzard for that -- but the fans who made it to the Coors Event Recreation Center certainly saw a game that featured drama.
The Wildcats and the Buffs traded the lead 11 times and were tied on 10 other occasions in the contest, but ultimately it was a pair of Colorado runs that spelled the difference as the hosts emerged with a 66-57 victory.
NU (1-3) has now lost three in a row heading into Wednesday night's meeting with Virginia as part of the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. Tipoff for that contest is 8:30 p.m. CST, and the game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.
Both teams entered Sunday's contest wary of starting slowly, and so the first few minutes were tentative but even. The largest lead either team held in the first 20 minutes was four (Colorado, at 16-12), and that lead was quickly erased on consecutive Northwestern possessions. In the final two minutes, the Buffs used a 4-0 run that put them up 28-25 as the teams headed to the locker room.
Colorado scored the first bucket of the second half, but five straight points by NU's Tim Doyle tied the game, and then Vedran Vukusic scored five of the game's next seven points to give the `Cats a 35-32 lead. That advantage slowly swelled, reaching its peak at 44-37 when Evan Seacat knocked down his only three-pointer of the game with 11 minutes left.
However, Richard Roby scored on a layup, and Chris Copeland knocked down a trey and a layup, triggering an 11-0 Colorado run over a span of just more than three minutes and gave the Buffs a 48-44 lead.
Thanks to Vukusic -- who finished with a game-high 25 points, just one shy of his career high -- the `Cats drew within two points on three separate occasions during the next few minutes, but Roby responded with just under five minutes to play with a fallaway jumper in the right corner that swished through.
At the other end, the Buffs switched from their man-to-man defense to a zone, and that seemed to stagnate the Wildcats. The result was a 9-0 CU run, begun by Roby's shot, over the next four minutes that made the score 61-50 with a minute to play. NU drew within six on two occasions in the final minute but got no closer.
Doyle scored 11 points, the first double-digit scoring game for the St. John's transfer in his collegiate career. T.J. Parker and Mohamed Hachad had eight points apiece for NU, which again suffered from less-than-stellar shooting - the `Cats were 39 percent from the field, including a dreadful 4-of-23 from beyond the arc.
Roby and Copeland led four Colorado players who scored in double figures, as each recorded a double-double -- Roby had 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Copeland had 15 points and 10 boards. Jayson Obazuaye had 14 points, while Julius Ashby had 10.