LAS VEGAS -- Josh Fortune was billed as a deadly 3-point shooter when he joined the University of Colorado men's basketball team after transferring from Providence.

Raining in long-range bombs remains Fortune's forte, and he broke out of his first extended shooting slump of the season in dramatic fashion during Tuesday night's win against Penn State.

"It felt good to get my first one in," Fortune said. "Then my teammates found me for a couple more when I was open. So I shot them with confidence and it was good."

Fortune entered Tuesday's game having made just 5-of-20 3-point attempts over the previous four games. That stretch included a solid 3-for-6 night against Nicholls, but also included three frustrating efforts with an 0-for-5 mark against Colorado State, a 1-for-5 mark against Brigham Young, and a 1-for-4 night against Hampton.

Fortune made up for that slump in a hurry against Penn State. After missing his first long-range attempt early, Fortune knocked down three 3-pointers in a row in the second half, a surge that helped CU take control.

Despite his recent 3-point slump, Fortune still was converting his long-range attempts at a solid .411 clip (23-for-56) entering Wednesday's game against No. 18 SMU.

"He'd been struggling a little bit, but he had open looks and he knocked them down," Boyle said. "Big-time threes."

Closing time

The bulk of CU's victories in its recent winning streak have occurred with the Buffs firmly in control with the clock winding down.


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Before Tuesday's win against Penn State, the Buffs had been in a one-possession game in the final minute just twice, and not since the fourth game of the season against Nebraska-Omaha on Nov. 22.

The Nittany Lions put a scare into CU when they trimmed a seemingly comfortable late 10-point margin to a one-possession game in the final minute, but Boyle believes the experience was a necessary one for the Buffs as Pac-12 Conference play approaches.

"I talked to our staff the other day and said, 'We haven't had a close game,' " Boyle said. "We're going to have some close games in conference play. And we're going to have games like (Penn State) in conference play where you've got to grind it out and find a way to win, especially when you're not playing your best."

Notable

Josh Scott needed 15 points against SMU to break into the top 10 of CU's all-time scoring list. ...Wes Gordon recorded six rebounds against Penn State, giving him 504 in his career. He is the 28th CU player to reach the 500-rebound total.

Late Tuesday

PENN ST. (8-4)

Banks 6-14 2-3 14, Taylor 3-10 1-2 9, Dickerson 1-2 0-0 2, Reaves 5-5 0-0 10, Garner 7-20 8-9 26, Zemgulis 1-3 0-0 3, Foster 0-1 2-2 2, Jack 1-1 0-0 2, Washington 0-0 0-0 0, Moore 1-3 0-0 2. Totals 25-59 13-16 70.

COLORADO (11-1)

Gordon 2-5 6-8 10, Scott 5-11 8-12 18, Fletcher 1-5 2-2 5, Collier 4-8 2-4 12, Fortune 3-6 4-4 13, Akyazili 0-2 1-2 1, Talton 0-5 0-0 0, Miller 0-0 3-4 3, King 3-6 2-3 9. Totals 18-48 28-39 71.

Halftime — Tied 25-25. 3-point goals — Penn St. 7-19 (Garner 4-9, Taylor 2-4, Zemgulis 1-3, Banks 0-3), Colorado 7-16 (Fortune 3-4, Collier 2-3, Fletcher 1-2, King 1-4, Akyazili 0-1, Talton 0-2). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Penn St. 27 (Banks 6), Colorado 40 (Scott 8). Assists — Penn St. 7 (Banks, Foster, Garner 2), Colorado 12 (Collier, Fortune 3). Total fouls Penn St. 27, Colorado 13. Technical Taylor.

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