Colorado Basketball: Buffs suffer tough overtime loss at Cal

Askia Booker Colorado basketball seemed to have their 22nd win of the season locked up, until Cal senior  Justin Cobbs had different plans. The Buffs were up by double digits halfway through the second half. Then Cal made a run to force the game into overtime, even though they did not have a basket in the final 3 minutes. The Buffs and forward Xavier Johnson controlled the whole game. Johnson led Colorado with 24 points and 6 rebounds, but it was not enough. This would have been a huge momentum boost for the Buffs going into the Pac-12 tournament.

The Buffs led much of the game and were even up by three at one point in overtime. Colorado  was able to shoot 40 percent from the field, which was 5 percent higher than Cal. On defense the Buffs did exactly what they wanted, but they did not make the timely shots. Both teams had been struggling going into this game, with Colorado losing two of its last three and Cal their past three games.

Colorado had numerous opportunities to close out the game at the end of regulation. They were not able to convert some late free throws to extend their lead. Cal and Cobbs continued to have an answer for the Buffs to maintain a small deficit. The Buffs had the last possession of the game, but guard Xavier Talton was not able to put up a good shot out of the timeout.

In overtime, Colorado built up a 3 point lead until Cobbs and forward David Kravish converted four free throws to take a 64-63 lead for Cal. Askia Booker answered with a layup on the other end shortly after. Cobbs got back to the free throw line with 20 seconds left to put them up one. The Buffs could not get a quality shot at the end with Booker taking a contested three that bounced off the backboard.

If Colorado won this game, they would have been the 3rd seed in the tournament. Since they lost to Cal, they dropped down to the 5th seed and lost the bye. They now have to play an extra game against USC, which will be very winnable. Colorado did not need this game to boost their resume, it would have helped with seeding though. Cal was the desperate team and it was their senior day, so they had extra motivation.

Cal is fighting for their tournament lives. They are the cusp of the bubble after their loss at home against Utah, but this win helped their resume. Colorado has a strong enough resume at this point in the season to get a ticket to March Madness.

Colorado now has a harder journey to the Pac-12 finals after not being able to clinch the 3rd seed. They will now have to play an extra game and a potential semifinal match-up against Arizona. If they had the 3rd seed, they would have more winnable games against UCLA/Arizona State. Arizona did just slip up against Oregon on the road, but that may give them more things to improve upon for the tournament.

Colorado would rather not have lost this game, but it does not break their season. They still want to prove themselves in the Pac-12 tournament to grab a higher seed. If Colorado can win the Pac-12 tournament, like two years ago, they would go into March Madness with lots of momentum and could even grab a sixth seed.