What went right: The Buffs shot .618 in the second half (21-for-34) and balanced a season-high 17 assists with a season-low nine turnovers.
What went wrong: The Buffs went just 6-for-21 on 3-pointers, while CSU finished .517 from the floor.
Star of the game: Tyler Bey. The sophomore forward scored 21 of his career-high 23 points in the second half. Bey went 9-for-9 at the free throw line and posted 10 rebounds for his third career double-double.
What's next: The Buffs' homestand continues Tuesday against South Dakota (7 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
Other players finished with bigger numbers in the box score, and Evan Battey himself put together a breakout game just last week on the road.
Yet after the personal trials of the past few seasons, the joyous flex-and-bellow Battey released after making a game-changing play late in a heated rivalry battle Saturday afternoon likely was worth the wait.
After Colorado State reversed the momentum with the clock ticking down, Battey turned the tide with a 3-point play that started the Buffs on a game-clinching run in an exciting and entertaining 86-80 win at the CU Events Center.
The victory ended a run of two straight losses and three in four games for the Buffs against CSU. CU also had lost its previous two home games against the Rams.
"Evan is an emotional kid. He's an emotional player. That what makes him who he is," CU head coach Tad Boyle said. "To have him show that emotion, especially when you see what he's been through over the last couple of years, you just love to see guys like that do well.
"At the end of games, especially games like (Saturday), players make plays. I can call the plays. CSU can call their plays. But the players that make plays are the ones that that's the team that wins the game."
The Buffs shook off a cold-shooting first half before coming alive after halftime, posting a .618 mark after the break (21-for-34) and taking a nine-point lead on a Battey bucket with four minutes, 16 seconds remaining.
The Rams, however, refused to go away quietly, using a 10-0 run to take a one-point lead with 2:23 left. Battey's 3-point play began a 10-2 run by CU that iced the win, with Tyler Bey going 6-for-6 on free throws in the final 24 seconds.
"In the long run, this game made us better," CU point guard McKinley Wright said. "We executed down the stretch really well. We guarded them really well down the stretch. Overall, this game helped us a lot."
While Battey contributed a key play at a critical juncture, there were plenty of individual heroes for the Buffs. After going without a double-double through the first 66 games of his collegiate career, junior forward Lucas Siewert achieved that feat for the second game in a row, finishing with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Wright recorded his first double-double of the season and the fifth of his career with 18 points and a career-best-matching 11 assists. And Bey, after a quiet first half, finished with a career-best 23 points along with 10 rebounds.
Bey also finished 9-for-9 at the free throw line.
It was the first time since Feb. 22, 2003 that the Buffs benefitted from three double-doubles in the same game (Michel Morandais 17 points and 10 assists; David Harrison 15 points and 11 rebounds; Stephane Pelle 18 points and 18 rebounds).
"We missed some bunnies in that first half. We missed some good looks," Boyle said. "We didn't trust our offense in the first half. The first 10 minutes of the game we didn't trust it, didn't trust each other. In the second half we started trusting it. That's why we had 12 assists at halftime, five in the first half. Part of that is making shots.
"Our players wanted to win so bad, they thought we could blow them out in one possession. They're excited, they're eager, but you've got to slow down and trust the offense. Trust that if you get it moved...you're going to get a good shot. We settled for quick jump shots in the first half. In the second half, we got that thing moved and we got better shots."
COLORADO 86, COLORADO ST. 80
COLORADO ST. (4-4)
Carvacho 6-11 3-8 15, Moore 1-5 0-0 3, Masinton-Bonner 5-7 0-0 14, Paige 7-14 2-2 17, Jenkins 1-2 2-2 4, Tyson 0-0 0-0 0, Thistlewood 2-5 1-2 6, Martin 8-14 2-2 21. Totals 30-58 10-16 80.
Siewert 7-11 0-1 16, Gatling 5-13 0-0 13, M.Wright 8-12 2-3 18, Bey 7-11 9-9 23, Schwartz 0-3 0-0 0, Battey 3-9 1-1 7, Brown 1-7 0-0 2, N.Wright 1-3 1-2 4, Kountz 1-1 1-2 3. Totals 33-70 14-18 86.
Halftime — Colorado St. 32-29. 3-point goals — Colorado St. 10-23 (Masinton-Bonner 4-5, Martin 3-6, Moore 1-3, Thistlewood 1-4, Paige 1-4, Jenkins 0-1), Colorado 6-21 (Gatling 3-8, Siewert 2-4, N.Wright 1-2, Bey 0-1, M.Wright 0-1, Battey 0-1, Schwartz 0-1, Brown 0-3). Fouled out — None. Rebounds — Colorado St. 28 (Carvacho 13), Colorado 36 (Bey, Siewert 10). Assists — Colorado St. 12 (Moore 4), Colorado 17 (M.Wright 11). Total fouls — Colorado St. 21, Colorado 15. A — 7,887