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Alec Burks, Colorado control Texas Southern in NIT first round

BOULDER, Colo. -- Alec Burks had 27 points and seven rebounds, Cory Higgins scored 25 points and top-seeded Colorado beat Texas Southern 88-74 in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament on Wednesday night.

Freshman Andre Roberson had 15 points and eight rebounds for the Buffaloes (22-13), who will face Cal in Boulder on Friday night

Harrison Smith had 24 points and Lawrence Johnson-Danner had 19 for Texas Southern. The Tigers (19-13) finished the season with two straight losses after winning 12 of 13 heading into the Southwestern Athletic Conference Tournament last weekend.

Colorado used a decisive run late in the first half to take control. After Smith's 3-pointer cut the lead to 26-23 with 5:39 left before the break, the Buffaloes surged behind Burks and Roberson. Burks scored six of his 12 first-half points in the final 4:43, Roberson had two dunks as Colorado went on a 14-2 run.

Burks' acrobatic, reverse layup gave the Buffaloes a 40-25 lead with 2:26 left before the break. They led 44-29 at halftime.

Colorado didn't let up in the second half. Burks started it with an alley-oop dunk as the lead grew to as many as 24. The Tigers had chances to get the lead under 10 early in the second half, but an alley-oop dunk by Shannon Sharpe and two 3-pointers by Levi Knutson gave the Buffaloes a 65-45 lead with 11:16 left.

Higgins' jumper and a layup by Burks stretched the lead to 74-50 with 7:07 left.

Colorado shot 61 percent from the field in the game and held the Tigers to 39.7 percent.