FORT COLLINS -- After Colorado upset No. 5 Texas in February, the student body rushed the court at the Coors Events Center.

Tad Boyle didn't mind the celebration but said he looked forward to a day when an opposing crowd stormed out of their seats after upsetting the Buffs.

"That's when you know you've arrived," Boyle explained.

Unranked CU has not arrived yet. The program is making strides but still hasn't made an NCAA Tournament since 2003.

And yet the Buffs' maddening 65-64 loss to Colorado State on Wednesday cued an Occupy Moby Arena postgame demonstration on the floor.

The scene was not unique as the CSU student body also rushed the court in 2009 following the Rams' 77-62 victory over Jeff Bzdelik's last CU team.

CU’s Nate Tomlinson goes up for a shot.
CU's Nate Tomlinson goes up for a shot. (Karl Gehring/Denver Post)

"Good for them. That's an exciting part of college basketball, and if they want to do that I have no problem with that," Boyle said. "What I want to do is to inspire our guys. We showed a film of their students storming the court two years ago when they beat Colorado. Tried to inspire them with, 'Hey, this is what we want to prevent.'

"But we weren't good enough to prevent it."

The Buffs (4-3) were their own worst enemy in enemy territory.

CU shot 37.5 percent from the field, missed 16 free throws and turned the ball over 15 times.

The head coach had to take a deep breath and measure his words carefully before answering questions about the performance outside the visitors' locker room.


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"I want to credit Colorado State. Credit those kids. But in my mind, as the Colorado basketball coach, we beat ourselves," Boyle said. "And when your team beats yourself, you have to look internally. And that's what we'll do. We'll learn from it and grow from it."

Despite all of the self-destruction, if Nate Tomlinson's shot at the buzzer didn't rim out the Buffs would have escaped with a road win even more improbable than last week's 76-73 overtime victory at Air Force when CU was badly outplayed.

Instead, Dorian Green's jumper with 10.2 seconds left proved to be the difference.

"I start calling timeout, yelling, 'Timeout! Timeout!'" CSU head coach Tim Miles said of the frantic sequence. "Thank God nobody hears me. Best coaching move I made all night, I pulled my hands down. Dorian made a great play."

Moments before Green's heroics, Tomlinson stole an in-bounds pass and laid the ball in to give CU a 64-63 lead. That was after the Rams had to burn two timeouts to avoid five-second calls.

"We had timeouts thankfully. I just didn't want to turn the ball over, and we ended up turning it over," Green said. "I think I kind of missed people that were open, but we had extra timeouts and it's better to be on the safe side."

Austin Dufault sparked a late comeback for the Buffs with a pair of 3-pointers in the final 1:17. The senior's clutch jumper from behind the arc with 21.4 seconds left cut an 11-point second-half deficit to 63-62.

"We're a tough team. We're not smart at all times, but we're very young and we have a lot of new faces around," Tomlinson said. "We're not executing well all the time, but we're really tough and guys are going to compete every day. That's never going to change."

True freshman Spencer Dinwiddie led the Buffs with 16 points. Dufault (13 points) and Tomlinson (11 points) also scored in double figures.

On the other end of the spectrum, Andre Roberson struggled offensively outside of Boulder again with one point and 12 rebounds. Leading scorer Carlon Brown (nine points on 3-for-13 shooting) also had a forgettable night and was not even on the floor for CU's final possession.

"Look at the stat sheet," Boyle said. "We shoot 36 percent from the field, we go 13-for-29 from the free throw line, we turn the ball over 15 times ... my question is: How are we in the game?"

CU did outrebound the Rams 44-31, but only converted 16 offensive rebounds into three second-chance points. Wes Eikmeier (19 points) was the only CSU player in double figures.

The Buffs trailed 32-25 at the intermission after missing 10 free throws (6-for-16) and shooting 32 percent from the field (8-for-25) before the break.

The Rams (5-2), fueled by six early CU turnovers, went on an 8-0 run midway through the first half to seize the momentum and a 15-7 lead. Shane Harris-Tunks finished a three-point play to end CU's 4:36 scoring drought (6:38 without a field goal) and begin a 7-0 answer by the visitors.

Dinwiddie hit a 3-pointer to tie the score 19-19, and Brown added another 3-pointer to give the Buffs a 22-19 lead with 4:27 remaining.

It would be the last field goal of the first half for CU.

The Buffs, who had a season-low seven turnovers during the 70-68 victory over Georgia on Monday, committed nine turnovers in the first half.

The second half ended with many of the 6,481 fans in attendance mobbing Miles and the Rams on their home court.

"It's tough," Tomlinson said of the atmosphere. "But it's definitely not Lawrence, Kansas, or anything like that."

Colorado State 65, Colorado 64

COLORADO (64)

FG FT Reb

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

Dufault 29 5-8 1-2 2-3 1 2 13

Tomlinson 33 3-9 3-4 0-2 2 1 11

Roberson 33 0-2 1-7 4-12 3 4 1

Dinwiddie 30 6-10 2-6 3-8 1 2 16

Brown 29 3-13 1-2 2-6 1 2 9

Booker 23 2-9 2-3 1-3 1 1 6

Harris-Tunks 8 1-2 1-1 0-1 1 2 3

Chen 4 0-0 0-2 1-1 0 0 0

Adams 11 1-4 2-2 0-2 0 2 5

Totals 200 21-57 13-29 16-44 10 16 64

Percentages: FG .368, FT .448.

3-Point Goals: 9-20, .450 (Dufault 2-2, Dinwiddie 2-3, Tomlinson 2-5, Brown 2-6, Adams 1-2, Booker 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 6.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Chen, Dinwiddie, Roberson).

Turnovers: 15 (Roberson 5, Booker 3, Brown 2, Harris-Tunks 2, Tomlinson, Dufault, Dinwiddie).

Steals: 7 (Tomlinson 3, Harris-Tunks 2, Roberson, Booker).

Technical Fouls: Tomlinson.

COLORADO STATE (65)

FG FT Reb

COLORADO ST. Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Bell 20 4-6 0-0 0-2 0 5 8

G Smith 26 3-8 1-3 0-3 3 2 8

Eikmeier 36 7-15 2-2 0-0 1 1 19

Carr 28 1-6 4-6 1-3 2 3 7

Green 34 3-8 2-3 1-9 3 3 9

Williams 10 1-2 0-0 1-3 0 1 2

Sabas 19 3-4 0-0 0-1 2 1 7

D Smith 27 2-3 1-2 0-6 1 3 5

Totals 200 24-52 10-16 5-31 12 19 65

Percentages: FG .462, FT .625.

3-Point Goals: 7-15, .467 (Eikmeier 3-5, G. Smith 1-1, Sabas 1-2, Green 1-3, Carr 1-4).

Team Rebounds: 4.

Blocked Shots: 2 (D. Smith, Eikmeier).

Turnovers: 15 (Bell 4, G. Smith 4, Eikmeier 3, Sabas 2, Carr, Green).

Steals: 9 (Eikmeier 3, D. Smith 3, Carr 2, Green).

Technical Fouls: None.

Colorado 25 39--64

Colorado St. 32 33--65

A -- 6,481.

Officials -- Mike Littlewood, Rick Batsell, Bill Kennedy.