BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Alec Burks scored 25 points, Cory Higgins had 22 and Colorado beat California 89-72 in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament on Friday night.
Colorado (23-13) set a school record for wins and advanced past the second round of the NIT for the first time since reaching the semifinals in 1991. The Buffaloes will play the winner of Sunday’s game between Fairfield and Kent State on Tuesday in Boulder.
Jorge Gutierrez had 16 points and Harper Kamp 14 for the Bears (18-15), who played without starting center Markhuri Sanders-Frison. Sanders-Frison, Cal’s leading rebounder, dislocated his right shoulder in practice on Tuesday. He was on the bench with his arm in a sling.
With 13 points from Burks, the Buffaloes led by nine midway through the first half, but the Bears’ accurate long-range shooting got them back in the game. Cal hit six 3-pointers in the final 7:55 to cut the lead to 37-34 at the break.
Gutierrez, who averages 14.6 points a game, scored all of his points in the first half. He went down hard with 14:24 left in the game and lay on the floor for several minutes before walking to the bench. He didn’t return.
Colorado led 54-46 early in the second half when the game opened up for the Buffaloes. Higgins was intentionally fouled on a layup and hit the free throw. Burks hit two more free throws, and after a free throw by Cal, Higgins hit a jumper and Marcus Relphorde nailed a 3 to make it 64-47 with 13:35 left.
Cal went on a 9-0 run to get within eight, and the lead hovered there until Colorado pulled away in the last 5 minutes. Burks’ three-point play with 3:24 left made it 85-69 and the Buffaloes cleared the bench.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)