That and too many more games like the opener will give Gonzaga head coach Mark Few a heart attack, as the Bulldogs always seem to make things interesting on the Hawaiian Island.
Down 11 at halftime and as many as 15, the Bulldogs waged a furious second-half comeback, out scoring Colorado 28-17 to start the half and hold on for a thrilling 76-72 victory Monday afternoon.
"Our guys showed a lot of courage, toughness and willingness to stick with the plan," said Few.
Junior guard Steven Gray (game-high 27 points) and senior guard Matt Bouldin (21 points) were the catalyst in the comeback, scoring 19 of Gonzaga's final 21 points. Few of those points were bigger than Bouldin's turn-around fadeaway with 41 seconds left that gave Gonzaga a 72-69 lead.
"The sign of a great competitor is if it's going bad and you can flip the switch at halftime and turn around, I think we had several players do that and as a team we did that," Few said of his two guards "It makes you feel good as a coach because they really had to dig deep to get it out."
The game was a mismatch on paper. Gonzaga (3-1), whose only loss was a four-point thriller at Michigan State, has made a living creating havoc in the NCAA Tournament, while Colorado (3-1) was picked to finish last in the Big XII after three straight 20-loss seasons.
But the hot-shooting Buffaloes went on a 31-11 run after being down over a 10-minute span in the first half to put Gonzaga on its heels.
"I walked out of the locker room for the first time since I've been at Colorado and felt like our kids believed we were going to win that game," said interim head coach Steve McClain, who took over after head coach Jeff Bzedelik flew home on Sunday to be with his sick mother.
Cory Higgins scored 19 points to lead Colorado, but the Buffaloes couldn't stymie the Bulldogs, who erased the deficit with 8 minutes, 8 seconds left.
The Buffaloes lost nine games last season by six points or fewer and five by three points of less. Their demise this time was the three-point shooting. After hitting 7-of-11 three-pointers in the opening half, Colorado didn't one in the second half, missing on all four attempts.
"I knew they'd come back and be even, and we would have to fight," McClain said. "It became a great game. The game is a game of runs. We had some great runs, they had some great runs. At the end of the day they made one more play than we could.
This isn't the first time Gonzaga has played a thriller in this tournament. Although the level of competition is different, the then-ninth ranked Zags, with the help of Adam Morrison's tournament record 43 points, beat No. 12 Michigan State 109-106 in triple overtime in the semifinals.
There were 13 lead changes in the final 7:30 of regulation, four in the final 1:14 and MSU's Maurice Ager tied it at 80 at the final buzzer of regulation with his fifth three-pointer over the final 7:10. This time around, we're just getting started.
"There was a lot of stuff that we hadn't seen it," Few admitted. "It will be a great one to go back and watch."