Kent State will not be making the trip to Madison Square Garden. That venue is reserved for the semifinals and finals of the N.I.T. Tournament.
The Golden Flashes were one game away from making the trip to New York but lost to Colorado, 81-74, Tuesday night in the quarterfinals.
"This is one of [the toughest games of the year], right up there with the championship game in the MAC Tournament," forward Justin Greene said. "It's tough because we had one senior [Rodriquez Sherman] and we wanted to make it to The Garden for him."
Kent State's offense traded baskets with the high-powered Buffaloes nearly the entire game, staying within a basket or two until Colorado was able to build a six-point lead with three minutes remaining.
Greene, who had one of his best games of the season with 20 points on 9-of-13 shooting, seven rebounds and six assists, responded with two quick baskets--one of them an and-1 layup--that brought KSU within three, 77-74, with just over two minutes left.
Kent State wouldn't score again.
Sherman missed a potential game tying 3-pointer with 1:23 left. Greene brought down the offensive rebound but couldn't convert with his left hand.
As Colorado tried to clear the ball, Sherman committed his fifth foul and walked off the court for the last time in a sudden ending to a standout career.
"It was pretty hard that I couldn't help my team in that last minute," Sherman said. "For me, it being my last college game, it's hard. My future is really bright but I love this place. The tradition, the family atmosphere, and the players all the way down the line."
Sherman finished the night with 12 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field and three assists.
Down the stretch, nothing the Golden Flashes did on defense worked in trying to slow down Colorado's high-octane offense led by projected NBA first-round selection Alex Burks.
Burks showed off his offensive repertoire, scoring inside and out and pulling off a couple tight passes on his way to scoring 25 points, 10 rebounds, four assists and four steals.
"We just couldn't get them guarded," coach Geno Ford said. "We went man--couldn't stop them. We went zone--couldn't stop them. We couldn't contain their wings. They made more plays at the end and we couldn't get them stopped when we needed to. That's been our trademark all year."
Still, KSU had a chance to extend the game but couldn't take advantage of a couple of easy looks as the closing seconds ticked away.
"Inside of four minutes we had Randal Holt, Justin and Mike Porrini all get it on top of the basket and didn't finish," Ford said. "In a game that's just a couple possessions, we needed those layups to keep pace."
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