What went right: The Buffs finished the game on an 8-0 run, recording four consecutive defensive stops down the stretch. CU shot 50 percent after halftime.
What went wrong: The Buffs shot just 32 percent in the first half and were being outrebounded by the Beavers before finishing with a 33-31 edge on the glass.
Star of the game: Derrick White. While fellow senior Xavier Johnson also was clutch down the stretch, White went 7-for-11 from the field and 5-for-5 at the free throw line, finishing with 20 points, four assists, three steals and two blocked shots.
What's next: The Buffs continue their road trip Saturday afternoon at No. 7 Oregon (FOX, 1 p.m. MST).
CORVALLIS, Ore. — Derrick White is a guard who typically makes his living along the perimeter at both ends of the floor.
Yet White also has a highly-toned knack for recording blocked shots, and that ability once again proved critical for the Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday.
Using a late surge powered by White and fellow senior Xavier Johnson, CU used a gritty finish to escape Gill Coliseum with a 60-52 victory against an Oregon State team hungry for its first win in Pac-12 Conference play.
It was the sixth win in seven games for CU, which finished the game on an 8-0 run. White and Johnson scored all of those points, with White also providing a key defensive takeaway during that sequence.
"It was a big-time block," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "He did that against Xavier. He did it against Oregon. He's come up with some big-time blocks at critical times of games. It wasn't his best defensive effort tonight, but that was a big-time play."
The game was tied 52-52 with under two minutes remaining following a back-and-forth second half when White and Johnson took over. A Johnson free throw broke the tie, and White gave the Buffs a three-point cushion on a driving shot with 1:16 left.
White then made the defensive play of the game, stripping Oregon State's Gligorije Rakocevic under the basket to give the ball back to the Buffs (the play officially was ruled a steal instead of a blocked shot). On the ensuing possession, Wesley Gordon found Johnson open in the corner for a 3-pointer that gave CU a 58-52 lead with 31.9 seconds left.
A steal by freshman Bryce Peters again thwarted OSU, and White put the finishing touches on the victory with a pair of free throws with 16.7 seconds remaining.
"We got stops. That's the big thing. I think we finished with four straight stops," White said. "That was the most important thing. Then XJ and I were just trying to make plays that they gave us. It was good to step up there and make some shots.
"(Blocking shots) is mostly timing. I try to get them before they jump. I'm not looking to get blocks, but it's part of defense."
After a sluggish first half, the Buffs came alive by opening the second half on a 12-2 run. Oregon State battled to within three points before CU scored eight points in a row, capping the run with a Dom Collier 3-pointer that gave the Buffs a 46-35 lead with 7:09 remaining.
OSU, though, responded with its own 9-0 run, eventually pulling even at 50-50 on a JaQuori McLaughlin 3-pointer with 3:22 to go.
White connected on 7 of 11 shots and led the Buffs with 20 points while adding four assists, three steals, and two blocked shots. Johnson hit both of his 3-point attempts and finished with 17 points, bouncing back from a season-low four points in Sunday's win against Washington State.
George King struggled from the floor (3-for-10), but he scored all seven of his points after halftime while also leading CU with seven rebounds.
"I always talk about defense and rebounding...but I thought our biggest problem in the first half was our offense," Boyle said. "It was anemic, to say the least. I thought we were selfish. I thought we took bad shots and I thought we didn't have any ball movement whatsoever. We did a much better job of that in the second half."
COLORADO 60, OREGON ST. 52
COLORADO (16-11, 6-8)
Gordon 2-4 0-0 4, King 3-10 1-2 7, Collier 2-4 2-2 8, White 7-11 5-5 20, Johnson 6-10 3-7 17, Siewert 0-3 0-0 0, Miller 0-3 0-0 0, Fortune 1-3 0-0 2, Peters 1-5 0-0 2. Totals 22-53 11-16 60.
OREGON ST. (4-23, 0-14)
Eubanks 5-7 4-5 14, Rakocevic 4-6 1-1 10, Manuel 0-5 0-0 0, Thompson 2-12 0-0 5, McLaughlin 6-14 2-2 16, Kone 1-2 1-2 4, Dahlen 0-1 0-0 0, Stacy 0-1 0-0 0, Sanders 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 19-50 8-10 52.
Halftime — Oregon St. 25-24. 3-point goals — Colorado 5-15 (Johnson 2-2, Collier 2-4, White 1-3, Fortune 0-1, King 0-1, Siewert 0-2, Peters 0-2), Oregon St. 6-20 (McLaughlin 2-7, Rakocevic 1-1, Kone 1-1, Sanders 1-2, Thompson 1-7, Manuel 0-2). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Colorado 28 (King 7), Oregon St. 24 (Eubanks 8). Assists — Colorado 9 (White 4), Oregon St. 7 (Eubanks, Manuel, McLaughlin 2). Total fouls — Colorado 13, Oregon St. 16. A — 4,281 (9,604).