CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Askia Booker had a career-high 23 points and Andre Roberson had 16 points and nine rebounds as Colorado won the Charleston Classic with an 81-74 victory over Murray State on Sunday night.
The Buffaloes (4-0) used an 11-1 run midway through the second half to break open a tie game and finish off their perfect trip South. Booker closed that run a 3-pointer and Colorado was ahead for good, 63-53 with 5:05 to go.
Murray State (3-1) was the last undefeated team in 2011-12, starting 23-0 on the way to a 31-2 record. The Racers got within five points several times down the stretch, including 79-74 on Isaiah Canaan’s basket with 4 seconds left.
Booker, who scored 58 points in the three games, was awarded the tournament’s most valuable player.
Canaan led Murray State with 21 points, although just six of those came in the second half. Ed Daniel had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while Dexter Fields added 18 points on five 3-pointers for Murray State.
Spencer Dinwiddie finished with 14 points, going 11-of-12 at the foul line for Colorado. Buffaloes coach Tad Boyle said he’d spend some of the tournament day off Saturday in the gym shooting foul shots after a 4 of 18 showing Friday against Baylor and it looked like it paid off. Colorado made 27 of 36 from the stripe against Murray State, including all six in the final minute to keep out front.
Colorado was 27 of 36 from the line against Murray State and moved to 4-0 for the first time in 18 years. It was the Buffaloes first in-season tournament victory since 2002-03 when they won three straight to take the Pepsi Classic in Charlotte, N.C.
Colorado and Murray State each came in looking for another tournament title. The Buffaloes won last season’s Pac-12 Conference tournament in their first season in the league. Murray State jump started its 31-2 season with a win at the Great Alaska Shootout, defeating host Alaska-Anchorage, San Francisco and Southern Miss to win that event.
Colorado gutted out a 60-58 win over No. 16 Baylor to reach the championship game, despite their abyssmal foul shooting. Emotion may have driven the Buffaloes in that one since their 2012 NCAA tournament run was ended by Baylor.
Murray State blew past Auburn 79-59 in the opening round — leading by as many as 36 on Thursday night — then used a second-half run to get by St. John’s.
The Racers came out quick against Colorado, building a 16-10 lead on Dexter Field’s jumper and 3-pointer. The Buffaloes came back behind Booker’s 7 points to tie it at 28-all.
Jeremy Adams had a 3-pointer and Andre Roberson a tip-in on Sabatino Chen’s missed layup with 2 seconds left to give Colorado a 33-31 lead at the break.
Colorado pushed its lead to 39-33 in the second half as Roberson had another inside bucket before Murray State answered with a 12-3 to retake the lead.
The Buffaloes put together a 10-0 run to go back in front and once again the Racers responded, with Field’s fourth 3-pointer tying the game at 52-all with 8:10 left.
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