LAS VEGAS (AP) – Cory Higgins had 22 points and four steals to lead Colorado to a 78-69 victory over Indiana in the consolation game of the Las Vegas Classic on Thursday night.
Marcus Relphorde added 14 points, and Levi Knutson and Austin Dufault scored 10 each for the Buffaloes (8-4).
“We made plays when we had to make plays,” Colorado coach Tad Boyle said. “Our backs got against the wall … and Cory Higgins stepped up and played like a senior and made plays.”
The Hoosiers (9-4) — undefeated at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, Ind., but winless everywhere else — were led by Jordan Hulls’ 17 points. Victor Oladipo scored 16 points, and Christian Watford added 14.
A 14-2 run brought Indiana to within 67-64 with 2:44 remaining, but Colorado got five straight points from Higgins to take a 72-66 lead with 54 seconds left. Knutson then stripped the ball from a driving Watford, and Higgins made two free throws to seal the win.
“I pride myself on free throws,” Higgins said. “Those are easy points, and you have to make them in the clutch. And so I just wanted to knock them down for my team.
“We just got away from what we were doing well (during Indiana’s rally). We weren’t attacking, we were playing passive. We just needed to get back to how we played the game.”
The Buffaloes started the second half with a 16-3 run that gave them their biggest lead, 55-36. Relphorde began the spurt with two layups, and Higgins and Nate Tomlinson each contributed a 3-pointer.
“We got a great lead because we defended and rebounded,” Boyle said. “We’ve just been hammering that home. We have to defend and rebound, especially in the Big 12, to give ourselves a chance.
“I think what our team realizes is … when we got stops and rebounded, it makes all the difference in the world.”
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