What went right: The Buffs shot the ball exceptionally well after halftime (.545) while forcing 10 second-half turnovers out of Portland.
What went wrong: It was a slow start defensively for the Buffs, as the Pilots went 15-for-31 from the floor in the first half.
Star of the game: Lucas Siewert. The junior forward continued his hot start to the season by posting his first career double-double, finishing with career-highs of 18 points and 10 rebounds.
What's next: The Buffs' homestand continues Saturday afternoon in the 129th all-time meeting against Colorado State (1 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
If Lucas Siewert continues to pile up one career-best performance immediately after another throughout the remainder of the season, his top individual totals will be off the charts by the end of the year.
That is unlikely to happen, of course. But right now the Colorado men's basketball team is more than happy to ride Siewert's hot hand, as the junior forward recorded the first double-double of his career while leading a balanced Buffaloes attack in a 93-69 nonconference victory against Portland at the CU Events Center.
After matching a career-high with 17 points along with a career-best eight rebounds Saturday at Air Force, Siewert was even better against the Pilots, finishing with 18 points and 10 rebounds while going 5-for-9 from the field.
"Since the beginning of the season I've been playing pretty good, and that got my confidence going a lot," Siewert said. "Every game I'm going to come out here and play with confidence, because I know the work I've put in is showing up."
Siewert got the Buffs going by scoring 12 of his team's first 14 points, yet it was a second-half surge that allowed CU to outpace the visiting Pilots.
The Buffs led 39-36 at halftime but Portland refused to go away easily, pulling into a 51-51 tie with about 13 and a half minutes remaining. It was all CU from there, though, as five consecutive points from sophomore point guard McKinley Wright started the Buffs on a 28-4 run that emphatically shut the door on Portland.
CU also turned it around defensively. After allowing the Pilots to shoot .484 in the first half (15-for-31), the Buffs harassed Portland into a .375 mark after halftime (12-for-32) and that number was padded slightly by a few late Pilots baskets after CU had the win well in hand.
"I thought the first half, I was really disappointed with our defensive intensity and effort," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "They shot 48 percent in our building and I felt like some of our frustrations on offense...because we have been shooting the ball so well, then all of the sudden you miss some shots and things aren't clicking offensively, it affects you on the defensive end. And we can't let that happen for our guys. I got after them pretty good at halftime, and they responded in the second half."
The Buffs forced 10 second-half turnovers from Portland, which jump-started an attacking CU offense that shot a robust .545 in the second half while featuring five players that finished with double-figure points.
Wright scored 15 of his team-leading 22 points after halftime and also recorded seven rebounds and three assists. Evan Battey continued his recent surge by going 4-for-6 with 10 points and five rebounds, while Tyler Bey shook off a 4-for-13 shooting night to finish with 12 points and six rebounds.
"In the first half, we weren't playing with our principles," Wright said. "Me and Shane (Gatling) got caught going over handoffs when we normally go under. We kind of talked about it at halftime that we need to play with our principles and trust our principles. Once we did that, we got stops and rebounded the ball and got out in transition. That's when we're at our best."
COLORADO 93, PORTLAND 69
Akwuba 3-4 0-1 6, F.Porter 4-7 0-0 9, Shaver 3-13 0-0 6, Walker 2-6 5-6 9, McSwiggan 8-19 1-1 22, Phillips 0-0 0-0 0, Diabate 1-2 0-0 2, Hogland 1-1 0-0 2, Fahrensohn 0-1 1-2 1, Smith 2-2 1-1 5, M.Porter 3-8 1-2 7. Totals 27-63 9-13 69.
Siewert 5-9 6-8 18, M.Wright 7-11 6-6 22, Gatling 4-7 2-2 11, Bey 4-13 4-4 12, Schwartz 1-6 0-0 2, Strating 0-0 0-0 0, Battey 4-6 2-2 10, Brown 2-3 0-0 5, Parquet 1-1 0-0 3, N.Wright 3-6 0-0 7, Martinka 0-2 0-0 0, Kountz 0-0 3-8 3, McQuade 0-0 0-0 0, Ersek 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-64 23-30 93.
Halftime — Colorado 39-36. 3-point goals — Portland 6-22 (McSwiggan 5-11, F.Porter 1-2, Fahrensohn 0-1, Walker 0-2, M.Porter 0-2, Shaver 0-4), Colorado 8-22 (M.Wright 2-3, Siewert 2-4, Parquet 1-1, Brown 1-2, Gatling 1-3, N.Wright 1-3, Schwartz 0-2, Bey 0-4). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Portland 26 (Akwuba 6), Colorado 40 (Siewert 10). Assists — Portland 10 (Walker 3), Colorado 11 (M.Wright, Kountz 3). Total fouls — Portland 25, Colorado 13. A — 5,550