Fast break

What went right: Once again the Buffs displayed resiliency, shooting .621 in the second half to overcome a 10-point deficit late in the first half. The Buffs also posted 17 second-chance points.

What went wrong: It was another slow start for CU. The Buffs have been able to overcome this bad habit so far but it won't be sustainable in Pac-12 Conference play.

Star of the game: Wes Gordon. Hard to argue against the player coach Tad Boyle called the player of the game. The junior forward scored just five points but grabbed seven rebounds and matched a career-best with seven blocked shots.

What's next?: CU hosts Hampton on Saturday at 7 p.m.

It's not a trait that likely will be sustainable for an entire season. Particularly once the Pac-12 Conference schedule finally arrives in less than two weeks.

Yet the Colorado Buffaloes' penchant for turning on the jets in the second half nonetheless is a valuable asset, and one that came in handy once again Friday night as CU held off an upset bid by Nicholls for an 85-68 victory at the Coors Events Center.

The Buffs trailed by as much as 10 points late in the first half before rallying for their ninth consecutive victory. It was the fourth time in 10 games that CU (9-1) has overcome a double-digit deficit to secure a win.


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"Obviously I'm not too pleased with the way we came out tonight. I thought our first-half performance was pathetic in a lot of different ways," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "We had some guys that weren't here mentally tonight. If we're playing a Pac-12 team tonight, we're down 20 at half. I'm just disappointed in our first-half performance."

Consecutive 3-pointers out of the gate from George King helped stake CU to a quick 8-2 lead, but 13 straight points from Nicholls put the host Buffs on their heels for the remainder of the first half.

A stellar shooting team from both 3-point range and at the free throw line throughout the early portion of the schedule, CU struggled on both fronts Friday night. After King's opening salvo the Buffs made just two of their next 18 3-point attempts.

CU entered the game with a collective .759 mark at the free throw line but went just 16-for-26 against Nicholls.

"At halftime we said we're not going to take a 3-point shot until the ball gets inside," Boyle said. "We had one player come out I think three different times because it didn't happen. He couldn't figure that part out. The rest of the team did figure it out. We shot 62 percent (overall) in the second half and we shot 50 percent from three.

"The shots in the first half were good shots. But when they're not going in, you've got to figure out a different way."

CU began chipping away at Nicholls' advantage late in the first half, scoring the final five points of the frame to trim the Colonels lead to 38-33 at the break.

With Nicholls leading 43-36 with just under 18 minutes remaining, the Buffs finally reverted to the form that has turned heads during the team's nine-game winning streak. CU pulled even on King's third 3-pointer and took the lead for good on a tip dunk from Tre'Shaun Fletcher at the 15:30 mark. Nicholls remained within one point with 11 minutes to go but CU outscored the Colonels 32-16 the rest of the way.

Senior Josh Scott scored a game-best 20 points to post his fourth consecutive 20-point effort, while Josh Fortune added 17. King finished with 14 points but it was junior forward Wes Gordon who Boyle dubbed "the player of the game" for his work at the defensive end and on the glass. Gordon matched a career-best with seven blocked shots and also finished with seven rebounds.

"We didn't come out with a sharp mentality tonight as we know we should with every game," Fortune said. "We've just got to pick it up as a team tomorrow night."

The Buffs face a quick turnaround Saturday night as Hampton visits the Coors Events Center (7 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) for the second game of the Las Vegas Classic.

Pat Rooney: rooneyp@dailycamera.com or twitter.com/prooney07

CU 85, Nicholls 68

FG FT Reb NICHOLLS Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS O'Neal 18 2-4 0-0 0-3 4 1 4 Frye 33 5-11 5-7 0-4 0 1 16 Carpenter 31 6-14 3-6 2-7 3 4 18 L Thomas 25 1-2 2-2 0-1 3 4 4 Kamber 12 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 2 0 Caudill 9 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 3 0 Ward 11 2-3 0-0 1-3 0 1 4 Bell 26 2-9 1-2 0-4 0 1 7 Rillieux 22 2-5 3-7 1-3 3 4 7 Q Thomas 13 3-6 0-0 1-1 1 0 8 Totals 200 23-55 14-24 8-30 14 21 68 Percentages: FG .418, FT .583.3-Point Goals: 8-19, .421 (Carpenter 3-7, Q. Thomas 2-3, Bell 2-6, Frye 1-2, Kamber 0-1).Team Rebounds: 3.Blocked Shots: 0.Turnovers: 14 (Carpenter 4, Rillieux 3, Frye 2, Bell, O'Neal, Q. Thomas, Caudill).Steals: 13 (Carpenter 3, O'Neal 3, Bell 3, Q. Thomas 2, L. Thomas 2).Technical Fouls: Carpenter. FG FT Reb CU Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS Gordon 31 1-3 3-4 2-7 1 1 5 Collier 23 2-6 0-1 0-4 5 3 5 King 20 4-10 3-4 1-3 0 2 14 Scott 31 6-8 7-9 4-6 1 1 20 Fortune 26 7-12 0-1 0-5 4 1 17 Akyazili 16 3-5 1-3 0-2 2 4 8 Talton 19 2-4 2-2 0-1 3 3 6 Fletcher 16 1-7 0-0 1-2 2 1 2 Guzonjic 4 1-1 0-0 0-1 0 1 2 Miller 13 3-4 0-2 5-10 1 1 6 Brady 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Totals 200 30-60 16-26 14-45 19 18 85

Percentages: FG .500, FT .615.3-Point Goals: 9-27, .333 (Fortune 3-6, King 3-6, Scott 1-1, Akyazili 1-3, Collier 1-4, Talton 0-2, Fletcher 0-5).Team Rebounds: 4.Blocked Shots: 10 (Gordon 7, Collier, Scott, Fortune).Turnovers: 14 (King 5, Miller 2, Scott 2, Collier, Akyazili, Gordon, Fortune, Fletcher).Steals: 7 (Collier 3, Scott, Akyazili, Fortune, Talton).Technical Fouls: None.

Nicholls 38 30 — 68 Colorado 33 52 — 85

A — 8,185. Officials —Randy McCall, Tom O'Neill, Brad Ferrie.