The Colorado Buffaloes probably will never be confused with some of the great run-and-gun basketball teams in the sport's history.
Nevertheless, finding a way for his club to take better advantage of its transition opportunities was a focal point for coach Tad Boyle during the early portion of the week. That work seemingly paid dividends during the Buffs' 71-54 home win against Oregon State late Wednesday night.
"We got out and ran better, I thought," Boyle said. "Again, we got stops, but we have got to become a better finishing team in transition. We had opportunities to finish where we didn't finish. And that's what we have to get better at. More fast break drills, more film watching. Simple, quick, easy decisions on the fast break — we've got to do a better job of that."
The Buffs were credited with just eight fast-break points — they haven't reached double figures in that category since a Dec. 12 win against Brigham Young — but CU clearly was more aggressive in its attempts to push the tempo following defensive stops. The tone was set almost immediately, as a long rebound by Wes Gordon led to an outlet pass to Dom Collier, who found Josh Scott in transition for CU's second basket of the game.
While the Buffs didn't score directly off fast breaks with more frequency, that aggression helped pave the way to 27 free throw attempts.
"I think our transition game was better offensively in terms of putting pressure on them," Boyle said. "And we got to the foul line."
Boyle expressed some consternation at the inconsistent, up-and-down rate in which the Buffs have visited the foul line in recent weeks.
Through 13 nonconference games, CU averaged 26 free throw attempts per game. Through the first three Pac-12 Conference games that average dropped to 14, a figure heavily skewed by the season-low four free throw attempts CU managed against Utah.
"Every game is going to be a different game when it comes to that whistle, and we've got to figure it out," Boyle said. "(Against Oregon State) we figured it out. I thought Josh and Wes finished better in the paint ... if we continue to finish like that and get to the foul line, we're going to be pretty good."
The Buffs went 21-for-27 at the free throw line against Oregon State, increasing their league-leading percentage to .732.
Sultans of swat
Scott and Gordon completely controlled the paint against Oregon State, combining for 26 rebounds and nine blocked shots. Both players continued their steady ascension up CU's all-time charts.
Scott's 12 rebounds put him at 857 for his career, just six behind fifth-place Jim Davis among the Buffs' historical leaders. Scott became just the fourth CU player to surpass 140 career blocks and is nine behind former teammate Andre Roberson for third-place.
Gordon, who had six blocked shots against OSU, reached 40 blocks for the third consecutive season and needs just four more to surpass Poncho Hodges for the fifth most in CU history.
Collier recorded five assists against OSU, marking the fifth time this year the sophomore point guard has posted at least five. ... After going 0-for-8 from the floor over the previous three games, freshman guard Thomas Akyazili broke out of his minor slump by going 3-for-4 against the Beavers. ... Junior Tre'Shaun Fletcher went scoreless against OSU for the first time this season while playing a season-low 13 minutes.