Sabatino Chen or Xavier Johnson?

There has been a debate among diehard fans as to which of Tad Boyle's "six starters" should come off the bench for the Buffs.

It turned out that Andre Roberson filled the role during Colorado's 66-60 victory over USC on Thursday night at the Coors Events Center.

The 6-7 junior forward was benched by Boyle for oversleeping and missing a team function.

"It's not a big deal," Boyle said. "Andre is a good kid and he doesn't have a habit of that."

Roberson's punishment was brief. He entered the game with 15:30 remaining in first half and finished with 11 points and eight rebounds in 32 minutes of floor time.

In the postgame locker room, Boyle was much more concerned about another sloppy second half by his young team.

CU shot 53.8 percent (14-for-26) from the free throw line, was out-rebounded 39-30 and committed nine turnovers in the second half.

That allowed the Trojans (6-10, 1-2), who trailed by as many as 17 points, to believe they could stun the Buffs the way No. 3 Arizona did a week earlier in Tucson.

"Not at all," Askia Booker said when asked if he was nervous about blowing another big lead down the stretch. "We've been in situations before where we're up in the first half and teams come back in the second half."

Booker scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half, including a 3-pointer to make the score 63-50 with just under three minutes left.

Thanks to a series of CU miscues, USC kept things interesting until Booker broke the press for a layup and a nine-point lead with 27 seconds left.

"It's hard to say. I feel like it's a lack of focus," Chen said after finishing with 10 points, four steals and three rebounds. "When we get up we're too comfortable and team's are in desperation when we get up. We have to learn how to finish teams."

Boyle said the Buffs played about 11 good minutes during the disappointing 65-56 loss at Arizona State.

This time 12 good minutes in the first half, when CU turned a 17-10 deficit into a 41-26 halftime lead, were just enough for the Buffs' first Pac-12 win of the season.

"In league play, you have to figure out a way to win when you don't play your best basketball," Boyle said. "First half, I was pleased. Second half was not very good."

Josh Scott scored 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting to lead a balanced CU attack. All 10 players that saw action for the Buffs scored.

The Buffs (11-4, 1-2) trailed by seven points eight minutes into the game after a jumper by 7-foot forward Dewayne Dedmon.

Eli Stalzer started a 7-0 run with a 3-pointer from the corner. Later in the half, Xavier Talton capped a 9-0 run by the home team.

A week after having a game-winning 3-pointer taken away by officials, Chen made the highlights with a dazzling steal and spinning layup. The senior from Monarch High School scored after one of his steals to make it a 15-point lead at the intermission.

USC outscored the Buffs 34-25 in the second half.

"Until our guys figure out that we have to play 40 minutes, we're not going to beat great teams, home or road," Boyle said.

On Saturday one of the great programs in the country, UCLA, makes its first visit to the Coors Events Center as a Pac-12 opponent.

Fast break

What went right

The Buffs fell behind by seven points (17-10) early before finishing the first half on a 31-9 run to seize control of their first Pac-12 win.

What went wrong

CU missed 12 free throws, was out-rebounded by nine and had 13 turnovers, all of which kept the Trojans in the game until the final minute.

Stars of the game

Josh Scott and Sabatino Chen. They combined for 24 points, seven rebounds and six steals to spark the Buffs.

What's next?

The Buffs will host UCLA on Saturday at the Coors Events Center (Noon, Pac-12 Networks)

Colorado 66, USC 60

SOUTHERN CAL

FG FT Reb

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

Dedmon 29 5-12 0-0 3-9 1 3 10

Fuller 15 2-4 0-0 4-5 1 2 4

Wise 34 6-13 2-2 4-9 2 3 16

Fontan 16 0-0 0-0 0-2 3 1 0

Wesley 33 4-10 0-0 0-5 2 2 10

Woolridge 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Bryan 27 1-4 0-0 1-3 2 4 3

Taylor 12 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

Terrell 19 4-11 1-2 0-0 0 2 11

Blasczyk 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Oraby 10 2-3 2-2 2-4 0 4 6

Totals 200 24-58 5-6 15-39 11 23 60

Percentages: FG .414, FT .833.

3-Point Goals: 7-19, .368 (Wise 2-4, Wesley 2-4, Terrell 2-8, Bryan 1-2, Taylor 0-1).

Team Rebounds: 2.

Blocked Shots: 4 (Fuller 2, Dedmon, Oraby).

Turnovers: 23 (Fuller 4, Wesley 4, Bryan 4, Fontan 3, Oraby 3, Dedmon 2, Terrell 2, Wise).

Steals: 7 (Terrell 3, Wise, Bryan, Wesley, Fontan).

Technical Fouls: Wesley.

COLORADO

FG FT Reb

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

Scott 27 6-7 2-4 1-4 2 2 14

Booker 31 4-12 3-3 0-2 2 1 12

Johnson 23 2-7 3-6 1-3 1 3 7

Chen 25 5-7 0-1 1-3 1 0 10

Dinwiddie 30 1-7 2-4 0-3 2 1 5

Talton 7 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 0 2

Stalzer 9 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 3

Harris-Tunks 12 0-1 1-2 1-4 0 2 1

Roberson 32 4-10 2-4 3-8 1 0 11

Adams 4 0-0 1-2 0-0 0 0 1

Totals 200 24-54 14-26 10-30 10 10 66

Percentages: FG .444, FT .538.

3-Point Goals: 4-13, .308 (Stalzer 1-1, Roberson 1-3, Dinwiddie 1-3, Booker 1-4, Johnson 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 3.

Blocked Shots: 3 (Harris-Tunks, Johnson, Roberson).

Turnovers: 13 (Booker 4, Roberson 2, Scott 2, Harris-Tunks, Stalzer, Dinwiddie, Chen).

Steals: 15 (Dinwiddie 5, Chen 4, Scott 2, Roberson 2, Harris-Tunks, Booker).

Technical Fouls: Johnson.

Southern Cal 26 34--60

Colorado 41 25--66

A -- 10,344.

Officials -- Michael Irving, Jeff Wooten, Rodrick Dixon.