What went right: CU's perimeter defense was solid, with a good-shooting BYU team going just 9-for-29 from 3-point range. Cougars leading scorer Chase Fischer was 2-for-14 overall and 0-for-9 from beyond the arc.
What went wrong: CU allowed a reeling BYU club to get back into the game after building a 25-point lead, committing a flurry of turnovers that allowed the Cougars to make it a game once again.
Star of the game: George King. The redshirt sophomore was 7-for-8 on free throws and 4-for-6 from 3-point range while finishing with a team-leading 23 points. Also played solid defense on BYU leader Kyle Collinsworth.
What's next?: The Buffs host Nicholls at 7 p.m. Friday at the Coors Events Center in the first game of the Las Vegas Classic.
With his scoring explosion out of the gate this season, George King already has cemented his status as one of the early pleasant surprises for the Colorado Buffaloes men's basketball team.
On Saturday night, the redshirt sophomore showed he might be developing into one of the team's defensive stoppers as well.
Challenged by head coach Tad Boyle to keep tabs on Brigham Young's do-everything point guard Kyle Collinsworth, King made certain BYU's star worked for everything he got while also pacing the Buffs at the offensive end as CU held off the visiting Cougars for a 92-83 win Saturday night at the Coors Events Center.
It was the eighth win in a row for the Buffs, who sprinted ahead behind defense and solid first-half shooting before weathering a BYU rally in the second half.
"That was my whole focus because (Collinsworth) is a great player," King said. "The teams he's played before, the guys that were guarding him didn't really do a great job of making him work. Coach Boyle, he really challenged me to make him work...and don't give him anything easy. If I do that then he'd be happy with me. And that's what I did."
The NCAA's all-time leader in triple-doubles, Collinsworth eventually finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and six assists. But the senior guard tallied only two assists and a lone rebound in the first half as the Buffs built a 48-36 lead at the break. Much of that can be credited to the defensive work of King and Tre'Shaun Fletcher.
"(King) certainly made a step forward tonight, much like I think Josh Fortune made a step forward in the second half against CSU," Boyle said. "I thought George did a pretty darn good job on Collinsworth. He did take it on as a challenge. I thought Fletch did too when he came in the came. Kudos to them.
"I thought we wore him down. We wanted to pick him up full court and try to have him expend some energy bringing the ball up the floor. I thought George was terrific defensively."
The Buffs seemingly put the game away early in the second half, reeling of a 13-0 run that extended CU's 12-point halftime advantage to 61-36.
BYU, however, stormed back with its own 13-0 run, eventually trimming CU's lead to 10 points with 7 minutes, 47 seconds remaining. But that was as close as the Cougars could get until under the waning minutes, and another stellar Buffs performance at the free throw line (20-for-23) helped keep the Cougars at bay.
"We knew they were going to make a run," Boyle said. "Their run...we helped them a little bit with our turnovers. I think we had six turnovers on eight possessions. It went from a 25-point game to a 10-point game pretty darn quickly."
King went 7-for-8 at the free throw line and finished with 23 points, sharing the game's top scoring honors with BYU's Nick Emery. Senior forward Josh Scott once again was a force for CU as well, posting his third consecutive double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds.
BYU leading scorer Chase Fischer entered the game averaging 16 points a game but scored just four on Saturday, going 0-for-9 from 3-point range and 2-for-14 overall.
The Buffs went 10-for-24 on 3-pointers — the third time in nine games they have made at least 10.
"Part of the issue with our team is we turn the ball over too much at inopportune times," Scott said. "They were hitting 3s. We knew they could get back in the game shooting 3s. If we can just play solid, not turn the ball over, and know what the other team is good at and take that away for a full 40 minutes, I think we would've blown them out by 25."
COLORADO 92, BYU 83
Davis 2-8 6-7 10, Kaufusi 4-7 1-2 9, Fischer 2-14 0-1 4, Emery 8-16 3-3 23, Collinsworth 6-18 4-5 17, Seljaas 7-11 0-0 18, Toolson 0-0 0-0 0, Calvert 0-0 0-0 0, Chatman 0-0 0-0 0, Shaw 0-1 0-0 0, Austin 1-2 0-0 2, Hartsock 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 30-77 14-18 83.
Gordon 3-8 3-4 9, Scott 9-16 4-4 22, Collier 2-6 4-4 9, King 6-9 7-8 23, Fortune 2-10 2-3 7, Akyazili 1-2 0-0 3, Talton 3-5 0-0 8, Fletcher 1-7 0-0 3, Miller 4-5 0-0 8. Totals 31-68 20-23 92.
Halftime — Colorado 48-36. 3-point goals — BYU 9-29 (Seljaas 4-7, Emery 4-11, Collinsworth 1-2, Fischer 0-9), Colorado 10-24 (King 4-6, Talton 2-3, Collier 1-1, Akyazili 1-1, Fortune 1-5, Fletcher 1-6, Miller 0-1, Gordon 0-1). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — BYU 41 (Davis 11), Colorado 49 (Scott 10). Assists — BYU 10 (Collinsworth 6), Colorado 18 (Fortune 5). Total fouls_BYU 20, Colorado 18. A_8,913.