ANTWERP, Belgium - Trailing by 10 points with under two minutes to play, the University of Colorado men's basketball team almost pulled off a stunning come-from-behind win - from its underclassmen, only to fall in the final seconds to Gembo BBC Borgerhout, 88-86, Sunday afternoon at the Sporthal Luisbekelaar.
The Buffaloes played the entire game without last year starters and reserves Askia Booker, Sabatino Chen, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Andre Roberson. CU countered the entire game on Sunday with all six freshmen, first-year transfer players, and their returning reserves from a year ago. Most of CU's firepower that generated 56.2 percent scoring and 70.5 percent of rebounding a year ago, did not play.
CU started the game with forwards Wesley Gordon and Xavier Johnson; guards Xavier Talton, Eli Stalzer and Chris Jenkins, with forwards Josh Scott and Xavier Johnson coming off the bench. Junior forward Ben Mills, junior transfer guard Kevin Nelson and sophomore transfer guard Beau Gamble also saw minutes.
Scott led all scorers with 24 points with six rebounds and a blocked shot.
"We added a fifth game on this trip trying to get some guys as many minutes, and as much as a flow of the game in a normal situation, to give them that experience," said CU head coach Tad Boyle.
"It gave us a great-look-into our freshmen class that are not normally in the rotation and getting them some minutes, so I thought the way we competed and lose by two to a very quality team that I think is better than the team we beat last night (Sat., Aug. 18), it gives us a lot of things to build on. The thing about this trip, is you want to learn as much as you can about your young players and we had a chance to do that today."
The Buffaloes were playing their second game in less than 24 hours were also led by Jenkins with 17 points and eight rebounds; Stalzer scored 10 points with six steals; and Gordon chipped-in with seven rebounds, six points, two steals and two blocks. Johnson added 11 points.
Trailing 74-66 with 1:47 to play, Gembo BBC made back-to-back treys for what seemed a commanding 84-74 lead. However, Scott scored the next bucket with a power move in the paint, then Nelson added four points inching CU closer and an 86-83 deficit with 16.6 seconds to play.
With no timeouts, CU managed to force the home team into a turnover where Jenkins subsequently missed a three-pointer to tie the game. Gembo BBC added a pair of free throws for an 88-83 lead and Stalzer closed the gap with a three-pointer at the buzzer.
Gembo BBC Borgerhout, whose average age is 28, was the Belgian Division II 2011-2012 champion, returned 10 players from its title team a year ago. They were led by Domien Loubry with 22 points and six three-pointers.
Four CU players, Talton, Scott, Gordon, Johnson, all fouled out one-by-one in the fourth quarter.
CU shot 45.9 percent from the field (28-of-61) and committed 29 turnovers. Gembo BBC shot 49.2 percent for the game (29-of-59) and committed 23 miscues.
It's the second time on the tour the Buffs played in back-to-back games, are now 1-3 on their five-game schedule playing semi-professional teams from France, Belgium, and Holland.
CU's five-game, 10-day European Tour ends with its final game on the schedule on Monday, August 20, 7:30 p.m. (11:30 a.m. MT) against the Rotterdam Challengers at the Topsportcentrum in Rotterdam.