Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer
Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photograher
What went right: Coach Tad Boyle’s basic tenants of defensive and rebounding. Oregon State made just one of its first 10 3-point attempts, while CU outrebounded the Beavers 48-33.
What went wrong: Turnovers remain a huge issue for the Buffs, who committed 18 against OSU.
Star of the game: Wes Gordon. This nod certainly could have gone to Josh Scott as well, but Gordon was dynamic in the paint, finishing with 12 points, 14 rebounds, six blocked shots, and a highlight-reel rebound dunk during the Buffs’ game-breaking run in the second half.
What’s next?: CU continues Pac-12 Conference play at home Sunday, 5 p.m., against Oregon
This time, the Colorado Buffaloes finished the job.
After struggling in recent weeks late in games, CU took care of business Wednesday night against Oregon State, surging past the visiting Beavers in the second half to post a much-needed 71-54 victory in a Pac-12 Conference battle.
CU improved to 13-4 overall and 2-2 in the league going into Sunday’s showdown against Oregon, the finale of the Buffs’ three-game homestand.
The post tandem of Josh Scott and Wes Gordon led the way for CU, as each player recorded a double-double to give the Buffs their eighth win in nine games against the Beavers in Boulder.
“I thought Wesley Gordon’s offensive rebounding, combined with Josh Scott’s defensive rebounding, was the difference in the game,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “Wesley got us extra possessions, and I thought our defensive effort pretty much the whole night was good.”
It was the second time this season Gordon and Scott posted a double-double in the same game, repeating a feat they achieved during a win at Colorado State on Dec. 6.
Gordon finished with 12 points, 14 rebounds, and six blocked shots while also providing the highlight of the night with a tip-dunk to cap a 7-0 run that gave the Buffs the lead for good midway through the second half.
Scott played his role of team leader to perfection, refusing to let the Buffs falter down the stretch. Scott scored 10 of his team’s final 15 points, ultimately finishing with 25 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocked shots. Scott recorded an 8-for-11 mark from the floor and at the free throw line while posting his ninth double-double of the season and the 32nd of his career.
It was more than enough to offset a stellar all-around performance by Oregon State‘s Gary Payton II, who recorded 26 points, 15 rebounds, three assists, and three steals.
“I think we rebounded and we played good defense,” Scott said. “In the first half, Payton was getting us in transition a little bit, and I think in the second half we kind of contained (him).
“We lost some close games, but I don’t think anybody was panicking. We know we’re a good team. We know we compete hard. We play for each other. This game just kind of demonstrated that.”
A 7-0 run compiled entirely by Payton II gave the Beavers a 38-37 lead with 11 minutes, 44 seconds remaining, but CU answered with its own 7-0 run capped by Gordon’s emphatic tip-dunk.
CU never trailed the rest of the way, as a Thomas Akyazili 3-pointer extended the Buffs’ lead to nine points with 6 minutes, 54 seconds remaining. Oregon State momentarily stemmed the tide on a pair of Payton free throws to trim the Buffs’ lead to seven points, but CU was able to cruise to the finish by outscoring the Beavers 19-9 the rest of the way.
CU finished 21-for-27 at the free throw line. The Buffs held Oregon State to a .295 overall mark from the field (18-for-61), which included a 3-for-14 effort from 3-point range. Boyle also lauded his team’s rebounding after the Buffs outrebounded Oregon State 48-33. That advantage was just 19-18 at halftime.
“In this league, every game is pressure,” Scott said. “When you’re trying to win the league, which we are, every game there’s pressure behind it. You can’t drop games at home. It’s hard enough going on the road, you can’t drop them at home.”