BOULDER, Colo. (Fresno State) - Second half rallies are becoming a staple of the Bulldog men's basketball team and Wednesday featured yet another fearless comeback before Colorado mustered just enough to fend off Fresno State 71-64 on Wednesday night.
The 'Dogs dug themselves a 20-point first-half hole that sophomore guard Kevin Olekaibe and an aggressive team defense helped cut to three at 55-52 with 6:18 left in the game.
"I thought we hung tough," Bulldogs head coach Rodney Terry said. "We are going to be in games like this all season. This was a lot like a conference game against a top team. We can't fall behind by that much. Our second half effort was much better, but I credit them (Colorado) for how well they played tonight."
The dogfight continued until the waning seconds when Colorado (5-3) locked down at the charity stripe to hold off the sharp-shooting of Olekaibe, who netted a season-high 26 points.
"We fought back and kept battling back," Olekaibe said. "It's a pretty tough loss and definitely hurts."
Olekaibe had given the Bulldogs their only lead by converting a pair of free throws for the first points of the game.
Colorado then buckled down and roared on a 15-3 run for a 10-point lead (15-5) midway through the first half and pulled ahead by 20 largely behind the power of 13 first-half points by CU's Andre Roberson.
CU led 38-23 at halftime after Olekaibe tallied the final five points of the half - a putback lay-up and buzzer-beating 3-pointer on a designed inbounds play that started with just 0.7 seconds left on the clock following a Fresno State timeout.
Through the first 20 minutes, the Buffaloes owned an 18-10 advantage in the paint, 22-12 edge on the boards and outshot Fresno State 59.1 (13-for-22) to 26.7 (8-for-30) percent from the field.
After the break, Fresno State used the late first-half momentum and extended their run to 10-0 to cut the deficit to 38-28 with 18:07 remaining and stepped up on both ends of the floor down the stretch.
The Bulldogs outscored the Buffs 41-33 in the second half and Fresno State ultimately found success in the paint with a 28-26 edge for the game inside despite falling to the Pacific-12 Conference team.
Despite keeping the game close at the end, the Bulldogs couldn't completely erase the 20-point deficit and CU held on for their 27th straight home non-conference victory.
Olekaibe, who recorded 17 of his game-high 26 in the second-half, extended his double-digit scoring streak to 11 consecutive games on 8-of-24 shooting with five 3-pointers and a perfect 5-for-5 night at the free throw line.
"We have to get some rest and be ready to go on Saturday," Olekaibe also noted.
Roberson picked up his seventh double-double of the year with a career-high 21 points and 10 rebounds and Spencer Dinwiddie added 15 points to lead the Buffs.