CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Things couldn’t be better at the Charleston Classic for Colorado coach Tad Boyle. While down South, Boyle received a contract extension from his board of regents, then watched his Buffaloes pull off a gritty win over Dayton to start the eight-team tournament on Thursday.
Askia Booker scored 16 points, freshman Xavier Johnson had 15 and Colorado (2-0) rallied from seven points down in the second half to defeat the Flyers, 67-57.
“We didn’t play perfect,” Boyle said. “But if the rest the tournament is like this, people will get their money’s worth.”
Boyle’s certainly done that in his three seasons at Colorado. The Buffaloes won the Pac 12 Conference tournament in their first year in the league and gave Baylor problems in the NCAA tournament before the Bears pulled away for an 80-63 third-round win.
His one-year extension was announced Wednesday, a day after the team arrived in Charleston. It locks him up through 2017. Boyle said he’s grateful for the trust the school’s leadership showed him.
Boyle and the Buffaloes could pay back that faith later in the tournament because Baylor is also in the field. Boyle and his players would love nothing more than a rematch with the 16th-ranked Bears.
“I’m rooting for them,” Booker said, with a laugh.
Any team would have their hands full with Colorado, especially with their play down the stretch.
Josh Scott, a freshman like Johnson, had 13 points and Spencer Dinwiddie added 12. Andre Roberson, third nationally last year in rebounding, had 14 boards to go along with six points, four steals and two blocks.
Booker and Johnson had the biggest shots. They had back-to-back threes when Dayton led 35-27. Johnson’s long-range shot started a 13-0 surge that gave the Buffaloes the lead.
“We knew we needed to get going,” Booker said. “We were looking to make those shots.”
Vee Sanford led Dayton (1-1) with 13 points. Last year’s leading scorer for the Flyers, Kevin Dillard, scored all of his 10 points in the second half.
Dayton rallied one final time, tying it 47-all on Dillard’s driving bucket. Colorado used its long-range shooting touch to respond. Booker hit his second of three 3-pointers to regain the lead and Scott followed with a pair of foul shots.
The Flyers closed to 52-50 on Dyshawn Pierre’s free throw with 4:59 remaining, but that was as close as they would come down the stretch. Booker’s final 3-pointer with 1:25 remaining gave Colorado a 62-54 lead.
Dayton coach Archie Miller said his team played well until Colorado’s pace and execution in the last 10 minutes proved too much.
“Our team’s going to find that out the hard way a couple of times early until we learn it’s a 40 minute game and not a 30-minute game,” Miller said.
The teams hadn’t played each other since 1987.
Dayton was looking to show off its early season form. The Flyers won the Old Spice Classic in 2011 and Chicago Invitational Challenge in 2008. Dayton defeated Wake Forest, Fairfield and Minnesota on the way to last year’s Old Spice title and was seeking to knock off another BCS conference program in the Buffaloes.
Dayton led 27-23 at the half, and Khari Price hit both his first-half 3s to lead the Flyers’ scoring in the period.
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