The cast of "Senior Day" took their bows in front of 11,043 fans on Sunday night at the Coors Events Center.

And after Colorado's blockbuster 70-57 victory over Cal, the Ralphies went to ...

Best director -- Nate Tomlinson.

The senior point guard out-shined Pac-12 player of the year candidate Jorge Gutierrez. Tomlinson finished with 11 points, four assists and no turnovers in 36 minutes.

Best actor in a leading role -- Austin Dufault.

The senior forward had 15 points on 7-for-15 shooting and even remembered to thank his girlfriend during the postgame speech.

Best actor in a supporting role -- Spencer Dinwiddie.

The freshman guard shut down Gutierrez (scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting) on one end and knocked down a series of key shots on the other end. Dinwiddie made three timely 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.

Best makeup -- Andre Roberson.

The Buffs, after getting dominated on the glass during Thursday's stunning 74-50 loss to Stanford, out-rebounded Cal 39-30. Roberson grabbed 15 boards and also had eight points, three blocks and two steals.

Best adapted screenplay -- Tad Boyle.

Despite losing two players to the NBA, the second-year CU head coach has scripted a 19-9 season for the Buffs entering March, including an 11-5 record in the Pac-12.

"That's what senior day is supposed to be about," Boyle said at the after party. "The energy and the effort, we made plays on offense and defense. ... I just had a sense that our seniors weren't going to let us lose."

Tomlinson capped a 7-2 run with a tough runner in the lane to give CU a 46-35 lead with 12:38 to play.

The Bears (23-7, 13-4), who could have clinched a share of the Pac-12 regular-season title with a win, fought back and had the capacity crowd on the edge of their seats.

Carlon Brown does a spin move on Harper Kamp of Calduring the first half of the February 26, 2012 game in Boulder.For more photos of the game, go to
Carlon Brown does a spin move on Harper Kamp of Cal during the first half of the February 26, 2012 game in Boulder. For more photos of the game, go to www.dailycamera.com. February 26, 2012 / Cliff Grassmick ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

After Justin Cobbs followed up a 3-pointer with a steal and acrobatic layup, the visitors were within 56-51.

"I didn't want to let it slip away, especially on senior night with the last opportunity to play in this building in front of our home fans," Dufault said. "I think it was really fitting the way we won because we've had an up and down career."

Tomlinson threaded a bounce pass through heavy traffic to Askia Booker for a momentum-changing layup with 4:14 left. The play sparked a 11-2 surge for the Buffs.

The Sydney, Australia, export also made a 3-pointer to cap a decisive 14-4 run for the Buffs during closing time.

"There was no way we were going to lose tonight," Tomlinson said.

CU led by as many as 10 points in the first half and settled for a 32-25 advantage at the intermission after holding Cal to 34.6 percent shooting from the field.

The Buffs led 29-22 at halftime on Jan. 12 in Berkeley only to lose 57-50.

"I think we took a lot out of the game at Cal about finishing it out," Dufault said. "We were up seven in both games at halftime. Tonight we took the initiative and finished it."

Unless there is an NIT game in Boulder, it was also the final game at the Coors Events Center for Carlon Brown and Trey Eckloff.

The Buffs will need to sweep Oregon and Oregon State this week on the road and get a lot of help to steal a piece of the regular-season conference championship.

Boyle's only concern is getting the next victory, which would provide CU with back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in the program's 111-year history.

"I don't think about it," Boyle said of the NCAA Tournament. "Last year taught me that. It was a hard, gut-wrenching lesson. We were on the bubble and all that. ... It's not something that I'm going to let myself get into again."