Fast break

What went right: CU shook off a slow start to shoot 50 percent (14-for-28) after halftime. The Buffs' defense held Portland's high-scoring guards Alec Wintering and Jazz Johnson to a combined 2-for-7 on 3-pointers.

What went wrong: CU committed 13 turnovers against just nine assists, and the Buffs struggled once again from 3-point range (5-for-19).

Star of the game: Xavier Johnson. Bouncing back from a subpar game against Colorado State, the senior went 8-for-10 at the free throw line and finished with a team-leading 19 points with five rebounds.

What's next: The Buffs host No. 7 Xavier on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center.

PORTLAND, Ore. — It wasn't exactly the return to form the Colorado men's basketball team was hoping for. But the Buffaloes definitely were glad to get the win and head home.

Using a strong second half, the Buffaloes shook off Wednesday's discouraging loss to rival Colorado State to pull away from Portland for a 76-63 win Saturday night at the Chiles Center.

The Buffs improved to 6-2 with the biggest challenge of the young season still looming as No. 7 Xavier visits the Coors Events Center on Wednesday.

"The second half we battled, we competed, and guys stepped up and made plays," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "Josh Fortune made plays. X-Johnson made plays. Wes Gordon made a big play at a critical time. Derrick (White) made plays down the stretch. That's what you have to have. Your fifth-year seniors are only good if they play like fifth-year seniors. And the second half tonight, they did."


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Portland led 30-28 at halftime but CU came alive after the break. The Pilots opened the second half with a 3-pointer to extend their lead to five, but the Buffs reeled off seven consecutive points in a 12-2 run to take the lead for good. Freshman Bryce Peters, who didn't play the entire first half, capped the run with a 3-pointer.

Portland rallied to within a point with about 12 minutes remaining, but a 3-pointer by another freshman, Deleon Brown, gave the Buffs breathing room before a 3-point play by Gordon sparked a 15-5 CU run that put the Buffs in control.

Johnson scored 19 points to pace a balanced CU attack that saw four players score at least 12 points. White shook off foul trouble to finish with 13 points, while Fortune scored 14. George King finished with 12.

"We actually hit our defensive numbers against Colorado State but ended up losing," King said. "We want to stay consistent, stay within ourselves and our team, and we'll be fine. (Portland) has a two-headed snake with their two guards, (Alec) Wintering and (Jazz) Johnson. Those are really good players who can score the ball. We knew if we could stop them, we could stop their team."

Wintering (17 points) and Johnson (18) still paced the Pilots, but CU certainly made them work for every point, with the Portland duo finishing 2-for-7 from 3-point range.

CU shot .431 from the floor and struggled once again from 3-point range (5-for-19), but Fortune was a bright spot from long range, going 2-for-3 with both his 3-pointers occurring at critical junctures in the second half.

Gordon scored only six points but finished with a team-leading 10 rebounds, and CU bounced back from the nightmare at the free throw line against CSU to go 21-for-30. Johnson led that effort with an 8-for-10 mark.

CU outrebounded the Pilots 38-28.

"A lot of people have talked about our free throw shooting, but that's not why we lost (to CSU)," White said. "We knew that Portland had two great guards and we needed to slow them down and guard for 40 minutes. They kind of got off there late, but for the most part I think we did a good job on them slowing them down, keeping them out of rhythm and playing good team defense.

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

 

CU 76, Portland 63

CU Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS Gordon 24 2-5 2-4 5-10 2 3 6 Fortune 32 3-7 6-8 1-5 2 3 14 King 30 6-11 0-1 1-5 1 1 12 White 29 5-9 3-4 0-3 3 4 13 X.Johnson 34 5-11 8-10 2-5 1 4 19 Brown 16 1-4 2-2 2-3 0 3 5 Akyazili 14 0-4 0-0 1-2 0 1 0 Siewert 8 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 0 0 Miller 7 2-4 0-1 1-1 0 1 4 Peters 6 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 3 Totals 200 25-58 21-30 14-35 9 21 76 Percentages: FG .431, FT .700.3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Fortune 2-3, X.Johnson 1-2, Peters 1-2, Brown 1-3, Gordon 0-1, Akyazili 0-2, White 0-2, King 0-4).Team Rebounds: 3. Team Turnovers: 13 (19 PTS).Blocked Shots: 6 (Fortune 2, White 2, Gordon, X.Johnson).Turnovers: 13 (White 6, Akyazili 3, King 2, Gordon, X.Johnson).Steals: 7 (White 3, Akyazili, Brown, Gordon, King).Technical Fouls: None. FG FT Reb PORTLAND Min M-A M-A O-T A PF PTS Marshall 24 2-6 2-2 0-1 1 5 6 Taylor 29 3-13 2-3 0-4 0 4 8 Hartwich 21 0-0 0-0 2-7 0 4 0 J.Johnson 40 5-11 6-8 1-3 2 3 18 Wintering 40 7-14 3-4 2-8 3 5 17 Tyson 27 4-7 3-3 0-2 0 3 14 Barreno 13 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 2 0 Jackson 6 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Ferguson -- 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Totals 200 21-52 16-20 6-26 6 26 63 Percentages: FG .404, FT .800.3-Point Goals: 5-19, .263 (Tyson 3-6, J.Johnson 2-5, Marshall 0-1, Wintering 0-2, Taylor 0-5).Team Rebounds: 2. Team Turnovers: 18 (9 PTS).Blocked Shots: 3 (Hartwich 2, Barreno).Turnovers: 18 (Wintering 8, J.Johnson 3, Barreno 2, Hartwich 2, Taylor 2, Tyson).Steals: 6 (Wintering 2, Barreno, Hartwich, J.Johnson, Jackson).Technical Fouls: None. Colorado 28 48 — 76 Portland 30 33 — 63

A — 2,720 (4,852).