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Colorado falls to Illinois, 57-49 | NCAA East Regional
For Colorado, the NCAA tournament was all about momentum. The Buffaloes were making consecutive appearances for the first time in 50 years...
AUSTIN, Texas — For Colorado, the NCAA tournament was all about momentum.
The Buffaloes were making consecutive appearances for the first time in 50 years. As a No. 10 seed in the East, they were a trendy pick for a mild upset over No. 7 seed Illinois.
They even fought back from a 16-point deficit with a 21-0 run in the second half to take the lead.
But all that momentum disappeared in one 30-second span late in the game when Illinois made consecutive three-pointers to regain the lead and pull away for a 57-49 victory Friday.
The Illini (23-12) advanced to play Sunday against No. 2 seed Miami. Colorado (21-12), the Pac-12's fifth-place team, goes home.
"Our defense was good enough in the second half, our heart was good enough," Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. "We're disappointed being one and done. ... It's reality. We have to live with that another year."
The three-pointers from guards Brandon Paul and D.J. Richardson rescued the Illini from an epic meltdown.
Illinois used its defensive muscle and a 21-5 run to finish the first half to roll into the locker room with a 37-21 lead. Richardson made three three-pointers during the run and Tracy Abrams capped it with Illinois' sixth three-pointer of the half with 3 seconds left.
Everything flipped in the second half.
Colorado regrouped behind Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year Andre Roberson and the hot shooting of Aski Booker, who made three three-pointers in the opening minutes of the second half. Booker finished with 14 points.
Josh Scott's layup gave the Buffaloes the lead, and baskets by Xavier Johnson and Roberson pushed it to 44-39.
The game broke in Illinois' favor when Richardson nailed his three-pointer, then had a steal and assisted on Paul's three-pointer seconds later.
Miami 78, Pacific 49
In Austin, sophomore point guard Shane Larkin matched his career high with nine assists as the second-seeded Hurricanes (28-6) rolled in their first NCAA tournament game in five years. No. 15 seed Pacific (22-13), in its final game for retiring coach Bob Thomason, was no match.
Larkin, the son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin, overcame a 2-of-8 shooting day by setting up teammates for baskets. Durand Scott had 21 points with five three-pointers for the Hurricanes.
Temple 76, North Carolina State 72
In Dayton, Ohio, Khalif Wyatt scored 31 points as Temple broke with its one-and-done NCAA tournament trend. The Owls had lost their opener in four of their last five NCAA trips.
Ninth-seeded Temple (24-9) opened a 17-point lead before Wyatt hurt his left thumb. He made six painful but perfect free throws in the final 32 seconds. Richard Howell had 14 points and 15 rebounds for N.C. State (24-11) on the 30th anniversary of its national title.
Indiana 83, James Madison 62
In Dayton, freshman Yogi Ferrell scored 14 points in the first six minutes for top-seeded Indiana. Not taking any chances with a No. 16 seed, the Hoosiers (28-6) led by 33 against the Dukes (21-15).
Ferrell finished with 16 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Cody Zeller had four dunks for Indiana. Freshman Andre Nation led James Madison with 24 points.