AUSTIN, Texas — The Colorado Buffaloes came up one game short of a trip to Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, dropping a 68-55 NIT quarterfinal decision to Texas at the Erwin Center.
The Buffs, who played a second-round game Monday, traveled Tuesday and played Wednesday, fell behind early to the hot-shooting Longhorns and could never completely close the gap.
CU wrapped up its season with a 23-13 record, tied for the third-most wins in a season in program history. Texas improved to 19-16 and will advance to next week's NIT Final Four in New York with a Tuesday game against Big 12 rival TCU.
The Buffs appeared to be tired from the outset. While they trailed by just one with a little more than 10 minutes left in the first half, the Longhorns took control with a 15-0 run, part of a 23-2 surge that helped Texas to a 25-point lead at the half.
Colorado managed to cut the deficit to 15 early in the second half, but could never get closer until the final minutes.
Tyler Bey led the Buffs with an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double, his 17th of the season, with 16 of those points and nine rebounds coming after halftime. McKinley Wright IV had 11 points, nine in the second half, and six rebounds.
The Longhorns had four players in double figures, led by Dylan Osetkowski's 15 points.
Colorado shot just 29 percent from the field in the first half (7-for-24) while the Longhorns hit 50 percent of their field goal tries (18-for-36), including 7-for-13 from 3-point range.
HOW IT HAPPENED: Although the Buffs trailed for nearly the entire game, they were still within one, 14-13, at the 10:31 mark of the first half after a Shane Gatling free throw.
But the Longhorns then put together a 15-0 run before a Wright IV basket ended a five-minute CU scoring drought, then added eight more unanswered points to put Colorado in a hole that never got below 15 points again the rest of the night.
By halftime, the Buffs trailed by 25 points, 44-19, tying their lowest scoring half of the season and also their biggest halftime deficit.
Colorado opened the second half with a 12-2 surge over the first six minutes to close the deficit to 15 on a Wright 3-pointer, but could not come any closer until the final minutes.
NEXT UP: The Buffs wrap up their season with a 23-13 record, tying for the third-most wins in a season in program history.