TUCSON, Ariz. -- Sabatino Chen delivered one of the greatest wins in Colorado basketball history.

Until he didn't.

The senior from Monarch High School banked in a deep 3-pointer at the buzzer that the visitors thought had given them an 83-80 victory over No. 3 Arizona at the McKale Center on Thursday night.

The Buffs mobbed Chen in celebration believing they had stunned the Pac-12 favorites on their home court to set the tone for a magical conference season.

Upon further review, the officials determined that Chen's finger nails were still touching the ball as CU's only senior released the shot and the clock expired.

After the field goal was waived off, the Wildcats (13-0, 1-0) -- who trailed by as many as 17 points -- predictably escaped with a 92-83 overtime win over the deflated Buffs (10-3, 0-1).

"If it's the wrong call, then I'm really sick to my stomach," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "Because we've got guys in that locker room that deserved to win that game. I'm not saying that they didn't deserve to win it, but our guys played their hearts out. We deserved to win."

There was plenty of still-frame visual evidence making the rounds on the Internet to suggest that Boyle needed to grab a bottle of Pepto-Bismol for the bus ride back to the team hotel.

"I felt it was good," Chen said. "When I saw the replay, I thought it was good. Too close to overturn."


Not completely lost in the controversy inside the stunned CU locker room: The fact that the game should not have been close enough to come down to Chen's near-heroic effort at the end of regulation.

The Buffs led by 10 points with 1:53 to play and missed five free throws down the stretch.

A turnover by Andre Roberson led immediately to the 6-7 junior forward's fifth foul with 1:15 remaining. Nick Johnson made two freebies on the other end to bring Arizona within 78-74.

A turnover by Askia Booker on an in-bounds play gave the Wildcats an easy layup.

And leading 80-78 with 18 seconds left, Jeremy Adams missed a pair of free throws. Arizona star Mark Lyons (24 points) tied the score on the other end with 9.2 seconds left.

CU needed 9.3 seconds in the officials' eyes.

"We had the game won. All we had to do was just contain and hit free throws," CU freshman Xavier Johnson said. "But we weren't able to do that and we lost."

Chen, who played a spectacular game off the bench with 15 points, missed two free throws with a chance to tie the game with 1:09 remaining in the extra session.

Lyons converted a three-point play on the ensuing possession to seal CU's fate.

"It's tremendously hard, especially when you thought you won the game," Booker said of refocusing for overtime. "Your hopes are up that you won, then they're down that you didn't. And when their crowd gets into it, you get a little flustered out there. I think that's exactly what happened, we didn't make free throws in the end."

A timely basket from behind the arc by Roberson and three quick baskets by Josh Scott early in the second half gave the Buffs a 47-35 lead.

Scott also took a charge that gave Solomon Hill his fourth foul with over 15 minutes to play.

Chen benefited from a block call on the other end and finished a three-point play. His 3-pointer moments later gave CU a 56-40 advantage with 12:41 remaining.

The Wildcats got within seven points but Chen made another clutch 3-pointer, and Scott added a shot clock-beater from 18 feet to give Boyle's team a 61-49 lead.

"Sabatino played like a senior," Boyle said. "He played fearless. His shot has gotten better since he has come to campus, and I think he showed that."

The Wildcats clawed back to within 64-58 on a 3-pointer by Hill. Chen gave the men in black the momentum back with back-to-back layups to give the Buffs a 10-point lead with just over four minutes to play.

Booker took some shots during the game that had Boyle shaking his head, but the sophomore's clutch 3-pointer provided CU with a seemingly insurmountable 73-63 lead.

"It's disappointing in so many different ways," Boyle lamented. "We had the game won in a lot of different areas and we didn't finish it."

CU led 34-27 at halftime after holding Arizona to 25.9 percent shooting.

The Buffs got off to a good start as Johnson, making his first career start, opened the scoring with a finger roll.

CU made four of its first five shots and led 9-6 at the first media timeout after a 3-pointer by Booker.

Booker capped a 10-0 run with consecutive high-arcing 3-pointers to make the score 21-7 with 8:47 left in the half.

Hill grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to end a scoring drought of 9 minutes, 21 seconds for the Wildcats.

Just as the crowd was finally getting into the game, Johnson hushed the masses with a pair of 3-pointers to make the score 27-11.

Roberson added a 3-ball from the corner as the shot clock was expiring to give the Buffs their largest lead (30-13) with 4:36 to play before the intermission.

But the Wildcats closed the first half on a 14-4 run and the second half on a 15-5 run.

And a close call that will live in infamy in Boulder went the way of the Wildcats.

"No comment," Boyle said when asked if Chen's shot should have counted. "I mean, are you kidding me? It's disappointing because our team played well enough to win."

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Arizona 92, Colorado 83




Johnson 38 4-8 3-6 2-6 1 3 13

Rbrsn 35 3-7 1-2 2-11 2 5 9

Scott 35 6-8 3-4 2-5 2 4 15

Booker 43 5-17 4-4 0-3 5 4 18

Dinwiddie 29 3-8 5-8 0-5 2 4 11

Talton 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

H-Tunks 9 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Chen 29 6-10 1-3 0-1 2 4 15

Adams 4 1-1 0-2 0-0 0 0 2

Totals 225 28-59 17-29 6-33 14 26 83

Percentages: FG .475, FT .586.

3-Point Goals: 10-21, .476 (Booker 4-7, Roberson 2-3, Johnson 2-4, Chen 2-4, Dinwiddie 0-3).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 1 (Scott).

Turnovers: 11 (Dinwiddie 4, Roberson 3, Booker 2, Chen 2).

Steals: 5 (Johnson 2, Dinwiddie, Chen, Roberson).

Technical Fouls: None.




Ashley 19 0-1 1-2 0-3 1 3 1

Hill 34 4-8 5-6 3-8 0 4 15

Tarczewski 23 4-7 2-4 2-4 0 1 10

Lyons 38 6-16 10-10 0-1 2 2 24

Johnson 37 2-11 7-8 0-5 4 4 12

Parrom 34 6-9 3-6 3-8 2 2 16

Mayes 11 2-4 0-0 0-2 1 1 4

Chol 3 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0

Jerrett 26 4-9 0-0 4-6 2 2 10

Totals 225 28-65 28-36 15-44 12 19 92

Percentages: FG .431, FT .778.

3-Point Goals: 8-23, .348 (Hill 2-3, Jerrett 2-3, Lyons 2-7, Parrom 1-3, Johnson 1-6, Mayes 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 5.

Blocked Shots: 1 (Tarczewski).

Turnovers: 13 (Hill 5, Lyons 3, Parrom 2, Ashley, Chol, Johnson).

Steals: 8 (Parrom 3, Johnson 3, Mayes 2).

Technical Fouls: None.

Colorado 34 46 3--83

Arizona 27 53 12--92

A -- 14,545.

Officials -- Verne Harris, James Breeding, Randy McCall.