CU’s Andre Roberson comes down on Air Force’s Taylor Broekhuis after a rebound during the first half .
CU's Andre Roberson comes down on Air Force's Taylor Broekhuis after a rebound during the first half . ( CLIFF GRASSMICK )

If the Buffs are upset by a team that makes contested 3-pointers for 40 minutes, the head coach can live with that result.

"I tell the players, 'Shake their hands. We got beat,'" Tad Boyle said. "Very few teams can do that.

Air Force was able to do it for a half. The Falcons were 8-for-14 behind the arc and had visions of a Front Range upset, trailing No. 23 Colorado just 41-39 at the intermission.

But CU held the visitors to 25 percent from distance (4-for-16) after the break and wore them down inside during Sunday night's 89-74 victory over Air Force in front of a crowd of 10,607 at the Coors Events Center.

The Buffs, ranked in the Associated Press poll for the first time since the end of the 1996-97 season, are off to their first 5-0 start in 23 years.

"I think they were definitely tired (in the second half)," freshmen forward Josh Scott said after scoring a career-high 20 points and grabbing seven rebounds. "But we knew they weren't going to make the same shots they were making in the first half."

Andre Roberson (18 points, 13 rebounds) was in vintage form, and CU dominated the glass with a 46-19 rebounding advantage.

"Rebounding was a big factor. It takes away their possessions and second-chance points," Roberson said. "We killed them on the boards."

The Pac-12's reigning rebounding king was only averaging 9.0 points entering the game. A more relaxed Roberson was 8-for-11 from the field with a couple of dunks for the highlight reel.


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"I stopped pressing and just let the game come to me," Roberson said. "I wasn't playing to my potential, let's put it that way."

The Buffs shot 56.6 percent from the field and made 22 of 28 free throws.

CU's starting guards, Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie, had 15 points and seven rebounds each.

"When we make plays for each other we're pretty good," Boyle said of the balance. "We have to get our assist-to-turnover ratio better."

The Buffs finished with 11 assists and 15 turnovers while the Falcons had 11 assists and six turnovers.

Air Force trailed 58-56 after a basket by Max Yon with 12:18 remaining.

Then a timely 3-pointer by freshman Eli Stalzer and a steal and dunk by Roberson got the building rocking during an 11-2 spurt.

After Michael Lyons (20 points) completed an and-one with 9:34 left, CU held the Falcons without a point for 5 minutes and 14 seconds.

A point-range bucket by Scott capped a 10-0 run and pushed the lead to 16 points.

"Josh is a great low post player. He obviously showed tonight signs of why he was so highly regarded coming out of high school," Boyle said. "Our guys believe in Josh."

CU appeared to take control with a 21-13 lead when Dinwiddie found Roberson on an electrifying lob dunk. But Todd Fletcher (18 points, 4-for-7 on 3-pointers) scored 10 quick points to cut the Air Force deficit to 21-20.

A 3-pointer by Yon gave the Falcons their first lead, 28-27, with 8:50 remaining in the half.

Stalzer's first 3-pointer gave CU a 36-31 edge, but Fletcher and Lyons countered with triples.

Dinwiddie's 3-pointer with 33 seconds left gave the Buffs a two-point cushion at the intermission.

"The 3-point shot in college basketball is a great equalizer and tonight you saw that," said Boyle, whose team finished 7-for-13 (53.8 percent) from long range. "We're out-rebounding them, we're probably a little bit more efficient offensively, but we're making twos inside and they're making threes. It gets you back in the game pretty quickly."

CU will have to quickly put this quality win over the Falcons (5-1) in the rear-view mirror and prepare Tuesday's game against Texas Southern at the Coors Events Center (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanThorburn

Colorado 89, Air Force 74

AIR FORCE

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Fitzgerald 32 1-4 0-0 2-5 1 2 3

Broekhuis 24 3-4 1-2 0-3 0 4 8

Fletcher 36 7-12 0-0 0-1 3 2 18

Lyons 37 7-18 4-4 1-3 4 4 20

Green 21 1-3 3-5 0-0 1 1 6

Olesinski 11 1-3 0-0 0-1 0 3 3

Coggins 6 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0

Williams 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

C Michael 8 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 3 2

Earls 10 3-4 0-3 1-4 0 1 7

Yon 8 3-6 0-0 0-0 0 0 7

E Michael 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Kammerer 2 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Totals 200 27-60 8-14 5-19 11 21 74

Percentages: FG .450, FT .571.

3-Point Goals: 12-30, .400 (Fletcher 4-7, Lyons 2-8, Green 1-2, Fitzgerald 1-2, Broekhuis 1-2, Yon 1-2, Earls 1-2, Olesinski 1-2, Coggins 0-1, C. Michael 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 1 (Olesinski).

Turnovers: 6 (Lyons 4, C. Michael, Fitzgerald).

Steals: 7 (Lyons 3, Fitzgerald 2, Broekhuis, Fletcher).

Technical Fouls: None.

COLORADO

FG FT Reb

Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS

Roberson 30 8-11 2-3 4-13 3 2 18

Scott 31 6-12 8-10 4-7 1 1 20

Booker 32 5-13 4-5 2-7 5 3 15

Chen 26 0-0 2-2 2-3 0 1 2

Dinwiddie 31 4-4 4-6 1-7 2 2 15

Johnson 10 3-4 0-0 0-1 0 4 7

Talton 9 1-3 0-0 0-3 0 0 2

Stalzer 12 2-3 0-0 0-1 0 1 6

Harris-Tunks 8 1-3 0-0 1-2 0 0 2

Adams 10 0-0 2-2 0-1 0 0 2

Totals 199 30-53 22-28 15-46 11 14 89

Percentages: FG .566, FT .786.

3-Point Goals: 7-13, .538 (Dinwiddie 3-3, Stalzer 2-3, Johnson 1-2, Booker 1-4, Roberson 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 1.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Roberson 2, Scott).

Turnovers: 15 (Dinwiddie 5, Booker 3, Roberson 2, Stalzer, Adams, Chen, Johnson, Harris-Tunks).

Steals: 4 (Roberson 2, Scott, Booker).

Technical Fouls: None.

Air Force 39 35--74

Colorado 41 48--89

A -- 10,607.

Officials -- Michael Greenstein, Gregory Nixon, Justin Van Duyne.