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Buffs Tourney Hopes Take Tumble

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(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

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AMES, Iowa (AP) — Freshman Calvin Godfrey scored a career-high 23 points and Iowa State beat Colorado 95-90 Wednesday night, damaging the Buffaloes’ hopes for an NCAA tournament bid.

Scott Christopherson added 17 for the Cyclones (16-14, 3-12 Big 12), who have won two straight after dropping 10 in a row.

Marcus Relphorde buried a 3-pointer to pull the Buffaloes within 83-81 with 2:03 left. But Jake Anderson answered with a 3, and Alec Burks missed a scoop on the other end.

Godfrey punctuated his career night with a raucous slam with 37 seconds left.

Burks scored 24 points and Relphorde 21 to lead Colorado (18-12, 7-8), which lost for the 19th time in its last 20 games at Hilton Coliseum.

This was the last scheduled Big 12 matchup between Iowa State and Colorado. The Buffaloes won only five of their 42 trips to Ames.

But few visits to Iowa State will sting as much as the last one Colorado might ever make.

After blowing an early 12-point lead and scrambling back ahead by one at halftime, Iowa State got hot again to open the second half.

That cushion that would come in handy.

The Cyclones rattled off an 11-2 run, capped by a 3 from Christopherson, to go up 49-39 and force Colorado coach Tad Boyle to call a quick timeout. But Christopherson soon buried another 3 that landed on the rim, spun like a top and dropped through to make it 54-42 Iowa State with 15:24 left.

The Buffaloes came right back, pulling within 59-55 behind a pair of Levi Knutson 3s, and they tied it at 64 with 9:14 to go.

Godfrey, who also had 11 rebounds, gave Iowa State the lead right back — cracking 20 points for the first time in the process. Diante Garrett and Anderson followed with tough layups in the paint to cap a much-needed 7-0 run.

Garrett and Anderson each scored 16 points and Jamie Vanderbeken added 15 with 10 boards for the Cyclones, who are now on a winning streak for the first time in two months.

Iowa State honored senior starters Garrett, Vanderbeken and Anderson before the game, and the Cyclones brought that emotion onto the floor in building an 18-6 lead. But the shots Iowa State was making early began to rim out — about the same time Colorado’s tries finally started going down.

Colorado dominated the final 12 minutes of the first half, turning a 12-point deficit into a 37-34 lead. But Garrett banked in a floater just before the halftime buzzer to put Iowa State back ahead 38-37.

Knutson had 16 points off the bench and Cory Higgins added 15 for the Buffaloes. But they fell into the same trap that Nebraska did Saturday, suffering a loss at Iowa State that put their dreams of an NCAA tournament bid in jeopardy.

Colorado now faces a crucial regular-season home finale against the Huskers — one that neither team can afford to lose.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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