Roadrunner forward Igor Nujic laid the ball up in the basket.  With 2:30 left in the game, the Roadrunners found themselves with an 11 point lead over Big XII-power Oklahoma State on the road in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

Two minutes and 30 seconds separated the Roadrunners from a historic trip to Madison Square Garden in New York for the semifinals of the Dick’s Sporting Goods preseason National Invitational Tournament.

The clock ticked down, but so did the Roadrunners’ lead as the Oklahoma State Cowboys, behind the hot hand of freshman point guard Cezar Guerrero, came storming back to tie the game, force overtime and then pull out the victory over a stunned Roadrunner squad that was left to wonder about missed opportunities.

“I didn’t spend a second not thinking about what happened in Oklahoma,” Nujic said of the Roadrunners collapse. “To think that we could have been going to New York instead of Colorado.”

“Oklahoma State was a good team,” freshman guard Michael Hale said. “We had the opportunity to get a win but we let it slip by.”

It was quite a different story from the night before when the Roadrunners faced off against Oral Roberts in the first round.  In that game, the Roadrunners found themselves down before they stormed back to win on a one handed buzzer beater by Sei Paye from 25 feet out.

“It was a great shot by Paye,” Hale said.  “He got the ball with five seconds left and finished the game for us.”

Head Coach Brooks Thompson maintained a positve outlook on the Roadrunners trek to Stillwater.

“In the span of 48 hours, our team played some great basketball,” Thompson said.

Despite the great play, the Roadrunners still had to swallow the taste of a trip to the consolation round in Fort Collins, Colorado.

“If they stick together as a family the way they are now great things will come,” Thompson said.

The Roadrunners-Cowboys matchup was not the only basketball played at historic Gallagher-Iba Arena as the host Cowboys rolled past the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Lions, 73-46, Tuesday Nov. 15 and the Oral Roberts Golden Eagles rolled past the Lions 80-44 on Wednesday Nov. 16.

The fact that the Roadrunners had the usually raucous Gallagher-Iba crowd quiet for so long was a great example of how far the program has come since Thompson took over back before the 2006-07 season when the Roadrunners went 7-22.

“I think it shows how far we have come,” Thompson said. “It makes you proud as a coach because we put our heart and soul into building this program.”

The Roadrunners faced off with the Colorado State Rams Monday, Nov.  21 in the consolation round.

In the game with the Rams, the Roadrunners started out strong, jumping out to a 9-2 lead early before the Rams started whittling into the lead.

The Rams would take the lead before the end of the first half and the Roadrunners would have to scramble to cut the deficit down to one, 43-42.

In the second half the two squads would trade baskets before the Rams went on a 21-9 run to close out the game and earn an 85-75 win.

The Roadrunners will play one more NIT consolation game Tuesday Nov. 22 against Fresno State from Fort Collins, Colorado.

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