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Colorado beats Nebraska.

Those are three words Buffs loyalists never get tired of hearing.

They might not be written again.

For the final time, at least as Big 12 rivals, fans in Boulder have bragging rights over those who love Lincoln.

CU said goodbye to five seniors, Nebraska and Big 12 basketball on Saturday night with a 67-57 victory over the Cornhuskers in front of a capacity crowd of 11,112 at the Coors Events Center.

Fittingly, the Buffs were led by seniors Marcus Relphorde (19 points), Levi Knutson (13 points) and Cory Higgins (12 points). Even seldom-used classmates Trent Beckley and Javon Coney were on the court with the game in doubt in the second half.

"It was awesome," Knutson said of the team`s single-season record 15th home win. "This crowd has been great for us all year. We need to take this show on the road and win on a neutral court."

The Buffs (19-12, 8-8) will be the No. 5 seed at the Big 12 Tournament and will face No. 12 Iowa State on Wednesday at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo. (1 p.m., Altitude).

"This has been a great year," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "And the reason it has been a great year is because we have five tremendous seniors who have represented the program well. ...

"We`re not done yet."

The inconsistent but resilient Buffs -- who followed up an upset win over then-No. 5 Texas with a deflating 95-90 loss at Iowa State on Wednesday -- are back on the NCAA Tournament bubble.

"We don`t talk about it too much," Higgins said of being so close to experiencing March madness for the first time.

 Alec Burks of Colorado drives past Drake Beranek of Nebraska during the first have of the March 5, 2011 game in Boulder.
Alec Burks of Colorado drives past Drake Beranek of Nebraska during the first have of the March 5, 2011 game in Boulder. ( Cliff Grassmick )
"You can`t lose sight of the next game, that`s the most important thing."

The Buffs were focused and ready for Nebraska, opening the game with a 9-0 run and seizing a 14-3 lead after a 3-pointer by Knutson with 15:48 to go in the first half.

CU made its first six shots while Nebraska missed four of its first five attempts from the field.After Relphorde`s second 3-pointer the home team had a 19-7 cushion.

"We just wanted to come out and punch them in the mouth," Higgins said. "And crank up the defensive intensity."

The Huskers, the best defensive team in the Big 12, clawed their way back into the game and were within five points after a basket by 6-11 center Jorge Brian Diaz with 29 seconds remaining in the half. 

CU led 33-28 at the intermission after shooting 41 percent (13-for-31) from the field. Alec Burks had just three points at the break on 1-for-5 shooting.

Nebraska scored the first two baskets of the second half to pull within 33-32. With a chance to tie the score or give the visitors their first lead, Diaz missed two free throws.

The Huskers` other 6-11 center, Andre Almeida, made two point-blank shots. Boyle countered by inserting the 6-9 Beckley into the game and he responded with a hoop on his first touch to give the Buffs a 42-38 lead.

Coney also grabbed a key rebound in crunch time, which led to a putback by Andre Roberson that gave CU a 57-48 advantage with just under five minutes to play.

"I thought Doc (Sadler) did a great job of using his bench, and I had to make sure I used my bench," Boyle said. "I haven`t done a great job of that this year, just because there are guys I have so much confidence in."

The usual suspects - including Burks, who finished with 12 points -- closed the game out at the foul line for the Buffs. CU was 15-for-18 in that department while Nebraska went 7-for-15 at the stripe.

The Huskers (19-11, 7-9) will be the No. 8 seed at the conference tournament and will face No. 9 Oklahoma State.

CU will join the Pac-12 next season and Nebraska is headed to the Big Ten.

"We`ve come a long way these four years and it`s special to me to go out like this," Higgins said.

Colorado 67, Nebraska 57

NEBRASKA

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Diaz 27 4-7 0-2 2-3 0 0 8

McCray 24 4-7 0-1 0-7 2 5 10

Walker 17 2-3 2-4 1-3 0 0 7

Beranek 15 0-3 0-0 0-2 0 1 0

Jeter 32 4-7 1-1 0-6 7 1 10

Jones 11 1-5 0-0 1-1 3 0 3

Richardsn 16 1-2 2-2 0-3 2 4 5

Ubel 23 4-9 1-1 1-4 0 0 9

Niemann 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Gallegos 17 0-4 0-0 0-2 0 4 0

Almeida 16 2-3 1-4 1-1 0 1 5

Totals 200 22-50 7-15 8-34 14 17 57

Percentages: FG .440, FT .467.

3-Point Goals: 6-18, .333 (McCray 2-5, Walker 1-1, Richardson 1-1, Jeter 1-3, Jones 1-4, Gallegos 0-1, Ubel 0-1, Beranek 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 4 (Almeida 2, Diaz 2).

Turnovers: 15 (Walker 4, Jeter 3, Jones 2, Richardson 2, Beranek, Diaz, McCray, Gallegos).

Steals: 3 (McCray 2, Gallegos).

Technical Fouls: McCray.

COLORADO

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Dufault 19 2-4 0-0 0-3 0 3 4

Relphorde 31 5-12 6-6 1-5 2 2 19

Burks 33 3-11 6-8 1-2 3 1 12

Higgins 34 5-12 2-2 0-3 3 1 12

Knutson 29 5-10 0-0 0-3 2 1 13

Tomlinson 16 0-0 1-2 0-1 1 1 1

Sharpe 8 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0

Beckley 3 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 2

Coney 2 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 0 0

Roberson 25 2-4 0-0 3-10 1 2 4

Totals 200 23-56 15-18 7-32 12 12 67

Percentages: FG .411, FT .833.

3-Point Goals: 6-13, .462 (Relphorde 3-3, Knutson 3-5, Roberson 0-1, Higgins 0-1, Burks 0-3).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 5 (Roberson 3, Dufault 2).

Turnovers: 5 (Burks 2, Roberson, Relphorde, Tomlinson).

Steals: 9 (Relphorde 4, Roberson 2, Burks, Higgins, Tomlinson).

Technical Fouls: None.

Nebraska 28 29 -- 57

Colorado 33 34 -- 67

A -- 11,112.

Officials -- Ted Hillary, Warren Evans, Pat Boeh.