AIR FORCE ACADEMY -- It didn't add up for Tad Boyle.

The Buffs were held without any fast-break points in 45 minutes while committing 22 personal fouls and 18 turnovers. They also allowed Air Force guard Michael Lyons to score a career-high 31 points.

And yet Colorado escaped with a dramatic 76-73 overtime victory over the Falcons on Wednesday night at Clune Arena.

Happy Thanksgiving?

"I'm glad we won. But there is nothing encouraging that came out of this game for the Colorado Buffaloes, other than the fact that we have a gritty team and we compete," a conflicted Tad Boyle said before boarding a winning bus back to Boulder. "I thought we were outplayed for the majority of the game tonight, and we snuck out of here with a win.

"I'm not sure we deserved a win."

The Falcons (3-1), who only committed 14 fouls and six turnovers, probably deserved a better fate.

With the score tied late in regulation, the officials gave CU the ball to inbound before the home team wasset out of a timeout. Spencer Dinwiddie alertly scored an uncontested layup to give the visitors a 62-60 lead, much to the dismay of the crowd of 3,834.

"I looked down at (Air Force coach) Jeff (Reynolds) and said, 'That's just wrong,' " Boyle said.

After a timely 3-pointer by Nate Tomlinson as the shot clock was expiring, CU appeared to have control again with a 65-62 lead with 1:07 left.


However, a failed box out on a missed free throw -- an issue that plagued the Buffs (3-2) during the Puerto Rico Tip-off last week -- allowed Air Force to tie the score on the next possession.

With the game on the line, Andre Roberson's put back with 16.7 ticks left was erased by a pair of clutch free throws by Mike Fitzgerald with 3.7 seconds remaining.

Carlon Brown's half-court heave was off target and overtime ensued.

"It was a lot of mental mistakes. Guys were trying to make too many plays, I got out of control and got a charge call," said Brown, who finished with 16 points, six rebounds and six assists in 43 minutes. "It was more about being in control, running the offense, and doing what we're supposed to do."

Askia Booker's 3-pointer with 1:56 left in overtime gave the Buffs the lead (74-72) for good. Todd Fletcher's potential game-tying 3-pointer as time expired was no good, ending the drama.

"We really dialed in and executed when we had to. And at the end, we got lucky. The guy just missed a shot," said Austin Dufault, who had 15 points and seven rebounds. "We just hung in there. You have to get breaks every once in a while. We got a break winning this game with the way we played."

Roberson didn't score a point for the first 31 minutes and 19 seconds of the game.

"I don't know where Andre's head was tonight, but it wasn't in Colorado Springs at Clune Arena," Boyle said. "But he still rebounds it like a mad man."

Roberson still finished with 11 points and 13 rebounds. The 6-7 forward scored on an offensive rebound with 11.1 seconds left in overtime to give the Buffs a three-point cushion.

"I think I kind of took myself out. I feel like I wasn't mentally ready," Roberson admitted. "But we came out in the second half with a lot more energy and intensity. Our sense of urgency was there, and if we bring that every night we'll be good."

The Falcons went on a 10-0 run early in the second half to seize a 46-39 advantage, prompting Boyle to call a timeout with 14:07 remaining.

CU trailed 53-45 before Roberson's first points of the game on a jumper with 8:41 left. That seemed to spark the team and the talented sophomore, who capped a 7-0 run with a three-point play to give the Buffs a 57-56 lead.

"I can't fault our guys' effort," Reynolds said. "We talked about it before the game and said this game was going to come down to solid, smart and simple decisions. I thought for the most part we did that. We had our chances."

CU led 37-36 at halftime thanks to Tomlinson's 16-point outburst. The senior point guard -- who had 12 points, four assists and no turnovers during Sunday's 81-76 victory over Western Michigan at Coliseo de Puerto Rico -- kept the lethargic Buffs in the game early.

Tomlinson was 6-for-7 from the field in the first half, including 3-for-4 behind the arc, and scored the final five points to put the visitors ahead at the break.

"Without that I don't know where we are. We had to have Nate's performance tonight. We've asked him to be more aggressive and he was," Boyle said. "We needed it. We don't even think about winning this game without Nate."

Lyons also had 16 points before the intermission and had helped the cadets build a nine-point advantage.

CU gave up four layups and committed four early turnovers and fell behind 11-6 after a 3-pointer by Lyons. Booker and Tomlinson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to give the Buffs a brief 14-13 lead, but Lyons answered with a trey in the middle of a 9-0 run by the Falcons.

Air Force had a 27-18 edge after a pair of free throws by Lyons with 7:02 remaining. Consecutive makes behind the arc by Tomlinson, Brown and Booker tied the score 27-27 moments later.

The Falcons outscored the Buffs 28-16 in the paint and 27-11 off turnovers for the game. CU dominated Air Force 47-28 on the glass and came up with 10 critical second-chance points.

"I'm not happy with the way our team performed in any facet of the game, other than rebounding," Boyle said. "But we should out rebound Air Force with the system they play. They're not a great rebounding team."


Jeremy Adams and Damiene Cain suited up but did not play for CU. ... Tomlinson moved into ninth place on the CU's all-time 3-point list (121), passing Chauncey Billups (120 from 1995-97). ... The Buffs lead the all-time series 18-3, including a 60-50 victory in the last meeting on Nov. 29, 2007, when Jeff Bzdelik returned to Clune Arena with his first CU team. ... The Buffs host Georgia on Monday at the Coors Events Center.

Colorado 76, Air Force 73




Dufault 26 5-9 4-6 2-7 2 4 15

Tomlnsn 41 7-11 1-1 0-2 4 0 19

Robrsn 38 5-9 1-1 6-13 3 4 11

Dnwdd 18 1-4 0-0 1-5 0 4 2

Brown 43 7-16 0-0 1-6 6 4 16

Booker 30 3-7 2-4 1-5 0 1 11

Sharpe 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Hrrs-Tnks 12 1-3 0-0 1-4 0 3 2

Chen 16 0-1 0-2 0-0 0 1 0

Totals 225 29-60 8-14 15-47 15 22 76

Percentages: FG .483, FT .571.

3-Point Goals: 10-24, .417 (Tomlinson 4-7, Booker 3-4, Brown 2-10, Dufault 1-2, Dinwiddie 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 5.

Blocked Shots: 4 (Roberson 4).

Turnovers: 18 (Brown 3, Tomlinson 3, Dinwiddie 2, Dufault 2, Harris-Tunks 2, Roberson 2, Booker 2, Sharpe).

Steals: 1 (Roberson).

Technical Fouls: Dufault.




Fitzgerld 38 3-6 2-3 0-4 1 4 10

Stewart 42 4-12 1-2 2-3 1 2 9

Broekhs 39 2-10 2-4 4-8 4 2 6

Fletcher 40 4-13 5-6 0-3 6 1 13

Lyons 39 10-19 8-9 3-7 2 2 31

Williams 11 2-2 0-1 1-1 0 1 4

Carter 7 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Earls 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Green 0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Brakeville 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Totals 225 25-62 18-25 10-28 14 14 73

Percentages: FG .403, FT .720.

3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Lyons 3-8, Fitzgerald 2-5, Stewart 0-1, Broekhuis 0-1, Fletcher 0-4).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 4 (Stewart, Williams, Broekhuis, Fletcher).

Turnovers: 6 (Carter 2, Fitzgerald, Lyons, Stewart, Fletcher).

Steals: 9 (Lyons 3, Broekhuis 2, Fitzgerald 2, Fletcher, Carter).

Technical Fouls: None.

Colorado 37 30 9 -- 76

Air Force 36 31 6 -- 73

A -- 3,834.

Officials -- Rick Randall, Rick Batsell, Brad Ferrie.

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