Instead of dominating Colorado from the very beginning, the Red Raiders shot 25 percent in the first half and had two consecutive scoring droughts of four and a half minutes leading up to their 33-21 deficit at the break.
It was a team that mirrored the pre-Big 12 Conference Red Raiders more than those of late.
Then Tech fired out of the gate following the break and probably a solid halftime spiel, hitting 64 percent of its shots in the first seven minutes while going on a 21-5 run to take a 46-43 lead with 13:02 left.
But Colorado finished strong and held off a last-second 3-pointer by David Tairu to win 71-68, handing the Red Raiders their third-consecutive home loss and the seventh this season — the most under Tech head coach Pat Knight.
He said after the game that the team looked like a different version than the Red Raiders of the last few games.
"We're all hungover from the Baylor win — from an emotional standpoint," Knight said. "But we just went back to playing like we did in the preseason. Then we played like we have been in the last three and a half weeks there in the second half. It was flat, guys playing one-on-one, bad shots. When you shoot 25 percent, you're not going to beat many people. It was awful, awful."
Colorado (17-11, 6-7 Big 12), who also play in the motion offense, played more aggressive in the final minutes of the game and continued to switch on all of Tech's screens.
"I think we've really grown up and played better down the stretch than we did against Baylor," said first-year head coach Tad Boyle, who watched his team los a game to the Bears weeks ago after a big halftime lead. "They made a run back and we didn't handle it as well. This time they make a run back and we kept it up."
Tech (12-16, 4-9) got two tries to tie the game or take the lead but Jaye Crockett missed the front end of a one-and-one only to watch Colorado's Levi Knutson nail the second of two free throws to make it 71-68 with 15.3 seconds left.
Knight loaded his gaurds on the floor but Tairu could not get the ball to drop as he faded away from a Colorado defender behind the 3-point line.
"We got a decent look," Knight said. "I wish we had penetrated a little better, but we got a look at the basket."
After the game, Tech seniors John Roberson and Mike Singletary were less-than enthused by the lack of fans at United Spirit Arena. There were probably less than 5,000 fans total in an arena that seats a maximum of 15,098.
"I haven't complained in four years but the crowd was awful," said Roberson, who also admitted later that the crowd was not the only factor. "We didn't have anybody here cheering us and that's ridiculous for this to be a winnable game and for us to be playing another Big 12 school for nobody to show up. I haven't complained in four years, but that was ridiculous."
Roberson and Singletary can only hope that fans show up for their last game, "Senior Day" on March 2 against Oklahoma.
"You can only do so much," Singletary said. "If they come out they come out, if they don't, they don't. It is what it is."