ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- And the dance continues.

But not without a whole lot of drama.

No. 11 Colorado gave Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott something to smile about with a stress-filled 68-64 victory over No. 6 UNLV in the NCAA Tournament South Regional on Thursday night in front of an ear-piercing crowd at the Pit.

The Buffs (24-11) nearly blew a 20-point lead in the second half before holding on for dear life.

With 15:05 to play, a Carlon Brown 3-pointer made the score 49-29.

The Rebels (26-9) finally slapped the full-court press on the fatiguing Buffs and nearly pulled off one of the most maddening March comebacks of all time.

Justin Hawkins' 3-pointer with 4:20 remaining cut the UNLV deficit to 57-55.

"We had a deer-in-the-headlights look," CU head coach Tad Boyle said after a deep post-game exhale. "We had a lot of empty possessions. I take responsibility for that. ...

"We survived a bullet."

The Buffs will play old Big 12 rival and third-seeded Baylor in the third round here on Saturday. The Bears (28-7) beat No. 14 South Dakota State 68-60 in the appetizer on Thursday night.

Boyle's team regained control against UNLV with another highlight-reel dunk by Brown that gave CU a 60-55 cushion.

"That's a big confidence booster when you see your teammate go up with two minutes left and throw one down like that," Askia Booker said.

Chase Stanback's deep make from behind the arc made it a one-possession game (67-64) with 8.4 ticks remaining.

CU had to take one timeout and barely got the ball in bounds after that before freshman Spencer Dinwiddie was fouled and made 1-of-2 free throws to seal the deal.

The Buffs closed out their first NCAA Tournament victory in 15 years at the free-throw line.

"We didn't handle the lead in the second half the way we would have liked," Boyle said. "We did just enough."

CU tied the program record for wins in a season, a mark that was set last year during the run to the NIT semifinals.

After winning four games in four nights to capture the Pac-12 Tournament and an automatic bid last week, the Buffs thrived and advanced in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since Chauncey Billups led the program to a win over Indiana in 1997.

Boyle is now an astonishing 10-2 in postseason tournaments at CU (2-1 in the Big 12 Tournament, 3-1 in the NIT, 4-0 in the Pac-12 Tournament and 1-0 in the NCAA Tournament).

CU's win improved the Pac-12's record against the Mountain West this season to 4-11.

Cal, the only other team from the Buffs' new conference invited to the NCAA Tournament, was knocked out of the tournament in the first round by South Florida on Wednesday in Dayton, Ohio.

"We owed it to the rest of our league to play well tonight," Boyle said.

Austin Dufault calmly knocked down a pair of smooth shots from behind the arc and Brown splashed a step-back 3-pointer to give the Buffs a 49-29 lead before the Rebels' final frenzy.

The C-Unit and the rest of the Buffs faithful dominated the atmosphere the way their team did the Rebels for the first 25 minutes.

"This is our house!" they chanted as the boys from Boulder continued to pile it on the shell-shocked Rebels.

CU led 36-25 at the intermission after holding UNLV to 27.6 percent shooting and dominating the glass 27-12.

Roberson had nine total rebounds and the Buffs grabbed nine offensive rebounds before the break.

Dufault's jumper at the buzzer capped a great half for the Buffs.

If not for nine turnovers and four missed free throws Boyle's team might have been completely running away from the Runnin' Rebels.

Brown, the most outstanding player of the Pac-12 Tournament, picked up where he left off in Los Angeles with a 3-pointer and an aggressive basket in the paint to start the game. After a put-back by Roberson, the Buffs led 7-2 just 98 seconds in.

A 3-pointer by Dufault and two more field goals for Roberson extended the lead to 14-4, forcing UNLV head coach Dave Rice to call a timeout.

The Rebels missed 17 of their first 21 shots and fell behind by 12 points until Chase Stanback and Mike Moser finally connected behind the arc to close the gap to 25-18.

Booker answered with back-to-back 3-pointers and a layup to give the Buffs the momentum back. The super sixth-man had 12 points and two rebounds in 11 minutes.

CU led by as many as 13 points (33-20) in the first half.

Roberson led the Buffs with 12 points and 16 rebounds against UNLV. CU out-rebounded the Rebels 46-33 to make up for 23 turnovers and 10 missed free throws.

Booker (16 points), Dufault (14) and Brown (12) also scored in double figures.

Colorado 68, UNLV 64

FG FT Reb

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

Tmlnsn 36 1-3 0-0 0-3 2 0 2

Rbrsn 37 4-10 4-6 3-16 1 1 12

Dnwdd 26 1-2 7-11 1-6 1 3 9

Brown 31 5-10 0-2 2-6 4 4 12

Dufault 24 5-11 1-2 0-5 1 2 14

Booker 24 5-9 4-4 2-2 2 0 16

Hrrs-Tks 11 1-2 0-0 0-3 0 4 2

Chen 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 0

Adams 9 0-1 1-2 1-2 1 2 1

Totals 200 22-48 17-27 9-46 12 18 68

Percentages: FG .458, FT .630.

3-Point Goals: 7-12, .583 (Dufault 3-4, Brown 2-3, Booker 2-3, Roberson 0-1, Tomlinson 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 3.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Roberson 2, Dinwiddie).

Turnovers: 23 (Roberson 5, Dinwiddie 4, Booker 4, Brown 3, Harris-Tunks 3, Tomlinson 2, Adams 2).

Steals: 4 (Brown, Dinwiddie, Roberson, Dufault).

Technical Fouls: None.

FG FT Reb

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

Bellfield 31 4-12 0-0 0-5 8 2 10

Marshall 38 6-14 3-6 1-3 3 2 15

Mssmb 18 2-3 1-3 1-3 0 2 5

Stanback 29 3-12 0-0 1-4 1 4 8

Moser 35 4-15 0-0 3-9 1 5 10

Thomas 3 0-0 2-4 1-1 0 0 2

Wallace 8 0-6 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Smith 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Lopez 10 1-1 1-2 1-1 0 1 3

Hawkins 27 3-8 2-2 1-3 0 5 11

Totals 200 23-71 9-17 12-33 13 22 64

Percentages: FG .324, FT .529.

3-Point Goals: 9-36, .250 (Hawkins 3-8, Bellfield 2-6, Moser 2-7, Stanback 2-8, Marshall 0-1, Wallace 0-6).

Team Rebounds: 3.

Blocked Shots: 8 (Marshall 4, Moser 3, Thomas).

Turnovers: 8 (Moser 3, Stanback 2, Marshall 2, Hawkins).

Steals: 14 (Moser 6, Lopez 3, Marshall 3, Stanback, Hawkins).

Technical Fouls: None.

Colorado 36 32 -- 68

UNLV 25 39 -- 64

A--11,839. Officials -- Roger Ayers, Brian O'Connell, Rick Randall.