CHARLESTON, S.C. - Colorado's youthful Buffaloes used a 16-2 second-half run to take control here Thursday against Dayton and breeze into the second round of the Charleston Classic with a 67-57 win.
The Buffs play Baylor at 10:30 a.m. MST on Friday morning at the TD Arena. Baylor ousted CU from the third round of last spring's NCAA Tournament.
CU (2-0) got double-figure score from Askia Booker (16), Xavier Johnson (15), Josh Scott (13) and Spencer Dinwiddie (12). Andre Roberson collected a game-best 14 rebounds. Dayton (1-1) was led by Vee Sanford's 13 points.
CU hit only 14 of 24 free throws for the afternoon, but Dinwiddie still sealed the win by making five of six in the final 37.1 seconds.
The Buffs trailed 27-23 at intermission, giving up a pair of three-pointers to Khari Price and Matt Derenbecker that highlighted a 7-0 Flyers run in the half's final 2:15. That Dayton spurt offset five consecutive points by Johnson that pushed the Buffs in front 23-20 at the 2:39 mark.
Neither team led by more than four points in the first 20 minutes, with CU jumping to a 4-0 lead on baskets by Booker and Josh Scott and Dayton enjoying a four-point advantage at the break.
The Flyers undoubtedly left the court believing they could have shown better. They didn't due to the absence of All-Atlantic-10 guard Kevin Dillard, who went to the bench with his second foul with 17:31 left in the half and didn't return.
Conversely, the Buffs probably weren't ecstatic over their first 20 minutes either. They shot 34.5 percent (10-of-29) from the field and committed nine turnovers against four assists, while the Flyers were shooting 32.4 percent (11-of-34) and committing seven turnovers.
Johnson's seven points led CU in the opening half, with Booker adding six. Price's six paced Dayton, which entered the afternoon with a 16-7 record against BCS competition over the past five seasons.
A free throw from senior center Josh Benson in the first 13 seconds of the second half opened a 28-23 Flyers lead, but baskets by Scott and Dinwiddie on a fast break after a steal pulled the Buffs to within 28-27.
Dayton responded with a 7-0 run to take its biggest lead of the game - 35-27 - but CU was in no mood to roll over. The young Buffs' response: A 12-2 surge keyed by three treys from Booker, Johnson and Dinwiddie that sent CU up 39-37 with just over 12 minutes to play.
That run must have felt comfortable for the Buffs; after Dinwiddie's three, they added a pair of free throws by Johnson and a steal and layup by Roberson to run the spurt to 16-2 and take their largest lead of the afternoon to that point - 43-37 with 11:27 left.
But the veteran Dillard was back from his long first-half rest, and he made his presence obvious. He scored eight of the Flyers' next 10 points as they tied the score at 47-47 with 7 minutes remaining.
Back came the Buffs, taking a 52-47 on a trey by Booker and two free throws by Scott. And they pushed their lead to 56-50 - matching their biggest advantage - on a layup by Dinwiddie and a steal and a layup by Sabatino Chen.
Could they hold that edge for the final 3:25?
Yes . . . and they could extend it. A three-point play by Scott with 2:55 left sent CU ahead 59-52. Dillard's two free throws at 1:59 cut Dayton's deficit to 59-54, but the unflappable Booker drained a trey from the left wing for a 62-54 bulge at the 1:24 mark.
After that bomb, the Flyers came no closer than five the rest of the way and the Buffs were moving on.