"I hoped the game was not lost in the festivities," he said afterwards.
Turns out it wasn't, as far as CU was concerned. The Buffs found a way to keep the ball away from Nebraska's 6-11 junior center Aleks Maric just enough to force NU to the perimeter. CU held the Cornhuskers to 37.5 percent field goal shooting.
But it was clutch play at the end of the game which sealed the win for CU.
Colorado battled back from a 4-point deficit at the half. CU even took a 9-point advantage at one point in the second half. But Nebraska clawed its way back.
The two teams were tied at 69 with 38 seconds remaining when Dominique Coleman — playing his final game at Coors — found a wide open Kal Bay set up beyond the arc. Bay had missed on all four of his 3-point attempts in the game, but calmly sank the one that counted most.
CU played tough defense on Nebraska's next possession, and when Jermyl Jackson-Wilson grabbed Paul Velander's desparation three, he was fouled. JJW sank one of his two foul shots with 6.4 seconds remaining, and CU strangled Nebraska in the full court press to hang on for the win.
"I was just ready to shoot," Bay said of his game winner. "Thank God it went in."
Richard Roby led all scorers with 23. Nebraska was effective early in both halves at pounding the ball inside to Maric, who ended with 22 points on 6-of-11 shooting. But a combination of Marcus King-Stockton, Sean Kowal, Marc Van Burck and Jeremy Williams kept the big man from taking over the game.
Things turned testy in the first half when both CU's Xavier Silas and Nebraska's Ryan Anderson were ejected for fighting. The scuffle occurred near the scorer's table when both players went after a loose ball.
Anderson appeared to swing at Silas, who responded by jumping on Anderson when both were still on the floor. Patton was among the first to jump into the fray and separate the players. Time was stopped for several minutes while officials looked at video tape of the play, then they signaled that both players were gone.
The officiating crew declined to comment on the incident following the game. It's significant in that a Big 12 rule states any player ejected for fighting must miss the team's next game. Both players could be forced to sit when the two teams begin play in the Big 12 tournament Thursday in Oklahoma City. Big 12 officials are expected to view the tape and make a ruling.
CU heads into postseason with a 7-19 overall mark, 3-13 in conference. (Nebraska is 16-13/5-10). The Buffs have the 12th seed in the Big 12 tourney, and will face either Texas Tech or Missouri, depending on the outcomes of games played later on Saturday.
Coleman, who had 15 points and 15 boards in the win over Nebraska, wasn't relinquishing any thing in the upcoming tournament.
"We feel like we can beat either one of those teams (Mizzou or TTU) if we play the way we did today," he said.
Notes: Coleman and senior manager Mark Ost were honored before and after the game. Patton was also honored following the game, as it was his final home effort as head coach at CU. Patton said the only time he got emotional about the whole ordeal was during a timeout in which he was imploring his players to play for each other.
A dozen or so of Patton's former players were on hand to honor the coach, as well. Afterwards, Will Smith and Jose Winston said some heartfelt things about the 48-year-old mentor.
Points: Richard Roby 23
Rebounds: Dominique Coleman 15
Assists: Coleman, Roby 5
Turnovers: Coleman 4
Blocks: Jermyl Jackson-Wilson 2
Steals: three with 1
Points: Aleks Maric 22
Rebounds: Maric 12
Assists: Charles Richardson 8
Turnovers: Maric 4
Blocks: two with 1
Steals: Kyle Marks 2