Michael Humphrey scored six of his game-high 19 points in the final 6:26 of Stanford's Pac-12 game against visiting Colorado on Sunday night, nearly giving the Cardinal another improbable basketball victory.
The Buffaloes held on to beat Stanford, 56-55, in a game of what-have-been with one more lucky bounce.
"I was really proud of Michael's effort," Cardinal coach Johnny Dawkins said. "He's going to be a terrific player. I'm looking at a guy who's at the tip of the iceberg of who I think he can become. He has to keep on coming in every day and he's only going to get better, keep gaining confidence. The kid has a huge upside and I'm really proud of him; he's one heck of a competitor."
The Buffaloes opened the second half on a 7-1 run to take a 44-28 edge but the Cardinal continued chipped away at the lead and made a game of it.
After Humphrey made a pair of free throws to bring Stanford within 54-51 with 4:14 left, the Cardinal had five chances over a three-minute span to close the gap even further. Colorado missed three shots and three free throws during the stretch.
The Cardinal (1-1 in the Pac-12, 8-5 overall) finally made it a 1-point game when Humphrey emphatically dunked a follow shot with 1:13 remaining.
The Buffaloes had an answer though, extending the lead to 56-53 with 49 seconds left.
Marcus Sheffield, who has sprang to life the past three games, sank a pair of free throws with 0:37 remaining to make it 56-55.
A turnover with six seconds left gave Stanford one more chance, but it had to settle for a desperation shot at the buzzer.
"It was too much of a deficit we can't start off the way we did," Humphrey said. "Consistently, we haven't played well in the first half and in the second half we've been stronger but we have to play better and we all know what we need to do and we'll figure it out."
Stanford has overcome double-digit deficits several times this season, stunning Arkansas in Brooklyn after trailing by as many as 20 points and beating Utah after trailing by as many as 12 points.
The Cardinal also overcame a 9-point deficit against Sacramento State and a 16-point deficit against Wisconsin-Green Bay.
Stanford trailed Texas by 12, only to lose by two.
Stanford travels to Oregon State for a conference game Wednesday night at 8 p.m., to be aired on ESPNU.
"Our point of emphasis is going to be how we start the game," Dawkins said. "We have to start better. We're able to battle back, which is good. But we have to start better and that's something we're going to make a concerted effort to do. That's all of us."
Stanford had its three-game winning streak come to an end. The Cardinal had won six of its previous seven.
"We can't start off the way we did," Humphrey said. "We have to play better."
Stanford held the advantage in points off turnovers, 22-5 but Colorado, which outrebounded the Cardinal by a 43-29 margin, had the edge in second-chance points at 17-6.
"They crashed the boards extra hard and we didn't do a good job boxing out," Humphrey said. "And they had a lot of late clock plays they made."