Heading into Pac-12 Conference play, the biggest concern about the Colorado men's basketball team was its inconsistent defense.

On Thursday, the No. 20 Buffaloes showed that their D can be good enough to lead them to a win.

CU overcame a sluggish night on offense to slip past Oregon State 64-58 at Coors Events Center in the conference opener for both teams.

"The best thing is we won when we didn't shoot the bal well," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "We talk about defense and rebounding being the cornerstones of our program. Tonight is a good example of why that is, and our guys, they did what they had to do."

Colorado’s Spencer Dinwiddie drives to the hoop past Oregon State’s Eric Moreland during Thursday’s game at the Coors Events Center.
Colorado's Spencer Dinwiddie drives to the hoop past Oregon State's Eric Moreland during Thursday's game at the Coors Events Center. ( JEREMY PAPASSO )

Josh Scott had his fourth consecutive double-double (13 points, 10 rebounds) and CU (12-2, 1-0 Pac-12) held Oregon State to just two points in the final 2 minutes, 15 seconds to get the win. The Buffaloes are off to their best start since a 12-2 start during the 1979-80 season.

In addition to Scott, Askia Booker and Jaron Hopkins also finished with 13 points for CU. Spencer Dinwiddie and Xavier Johnson had nine points each.

As a team, CU managed to hit just 38.2 percent of its shots, and Boyle gave the Buffs' offensive execution a C grade.

Defensively, though, the Buffs held Oregon State (8-5, 0-1) to 37.5 percent shooting - 13.3 percent below its average. They also forced 17 turnovers and blocked six shots.

"We pretty much just get drilled (in practice)," Scott said of CU's defensive effort. "Coach Boyle really drills defense and he's not joking when he says he's not going to play you if you don't play defense and rebound. We hit it hard for practice this week."

In their previous game, Saturday against Georgia, the Buffs didn't play well on defense, but turned it around this week to win an important game.

"It's a great win, knowing that we can rely on our defense to get wins and not just our offense and also know we actually do what coach teaches us," Johnson said.

CU survived a roller-coaster second half to get past Oregon State, as the teams traded big runs.

From the final minute of the first half through the first four minutes of the second, CU went on a 14-5 run. That gave the Buffs their first double-digit lead of the game, 38-28, with 16:28 to go.

Oregon State responded, however, with a 12-2 run to tie the game at 40-40 with 10:35 to play.

Then, it was CU's turn again. The Buffs rallied for a 13-3 surge, sparked by two put-back dunks from Johnson, to get the lead back to 10. A three-point play by Johnson extended the lead to a game-best 13 with 4:55 to go.

"We just knew that the score was a little too close (in the first half), so we had to come out with a little fire and energy," said Johnson, who had eight of his nine points after intermission. "Since they were slowing the game down, we had to speed them up and make them feel uncomfortable. That's what we did. We were getting a lot of steals and a lot of transition and that's what we're best at."

Oregon State wasn't done, though. A 3-pointer by Langston Morris-Walker sparked a 10-2 run that pulled the Beavers within 60-56 heading into the final 2 minutes.

CU's defense clamped down once again, though, holding the Beavers to just two fairly meaningless free throws, with 4.8 seconds to go, in the final 2:15.

"Good win. Welcome to Pac-12 Conference play," Boyle said. "Nothing is going to be easy."

Contact staff writer Brian Howell at

howellb@dailycamera.com

or twitter.com/BrianHowell33.

No. 20 Colorado 64,

Oregon St. 58

OREGON ST.

FG FT Reb

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

Collier 22 3-7 2-3 4-8 2 2 8

Brandt 24 2-7 0-0 2-5 1 5 4

Barton 13 0-4 0-0 0-0 0 1 0

MrrsWlkr 19 2-2 0-0 1-4 0 3 6

Nelson 32 5-14 10-10 0-3 2 0 23

Robbins 1 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0

Cooke 23 1-2 1-2 0-0 3 3 4

N'diaye 0 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0

Duvivier 12 2-3 0-0 0-0 0 0 6

Gomis 17 2-3 0-0 2-4 0 4 4

Moreland 27 1-3 0-0 3-10 1 1 2

Schftnr 3 0-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 0

Reid 7 0-0 1-2 0-0 1 0 1

Totals 200 18-48 14-17 12-37 10 20 58

Percentages: FG .375, FT .824.

3-Point Goals: 8-15, .533 (Nelson 3-5, Morris-Walker 2-2, Duvivier 2-2, Cooke 1-2, Schaftenaar 0-1, Barton 0-1, Brandt 0-2).

Team Rebounds: 1.

Blocked Shots: 2 (Collier, Moreland).

Turnovers: 17 (Moreland 4, Nelson 3, Collier 3, Gomis 3, Barton 2, Morris-Walker, Cooke).

Steals: 3 (Cooke 2, Robbins).

Technical Fouls: None.

COLORADO

FG FT Reb

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

Gordon 20 2-4 1-2 2-2 0 3 5

Johnson 33 3-10 3-5 2-9 0 1 9

Scott 37 5-11 3-6 3-10 0 1 13

Booker 31 3-10 6-6 1-4 2 1 13

Dinwiddie 34 2-9 3-4 0-3 5 4 9

Talton 13 1-2 0-0 2-2 1 1 2

Thomas 11 0-1 0-2 1-2 2 2 0

Hopkins 21 5-8 1-2 1-1 0 2 13

Totals 200 21-55 17-27 13-34 10 15 64

Percentages: FG .382, FT .630.

3-Point Goals: 5-20, .250 (Hopkins 2-4, Dinwiddie 2-7, Booker 1-5, Talton 0-1, Johnson 0-3).

Team Rebounds: 1.

Blocked Shots: 6 (Scott 3, Gordon 2, Johnson).

Turnovers: 7 (Scott 2, Hopkins 2, Dinwiddie, Booker, Johnson).

Steals: 9 (Booker 4, Dinwiddie 3, Scott, Talton).

Technical Fouls: None.

Oregon St. 23 35--58

Colorado 28 36--64

A -- 9,851.

Officials -- Mike Reed, Sirallen Conner, Tom Nally.