Colorado knew going into Sunday that slowing down the talented, experienced big men for Stanford would be critical.
Two quick fouls on forward Tyler Bey isn’t what the Buffaloes had in mind, but Bey’s impressive second half helped them hold on for a 64-56 victory at Coors Events Center.
Bey overcame a disappointing start to rack up nine points, six rebounds and some important defense in the post.
“Tyler really, I thought, played well in the second half,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “Offensively he was aggressive, but defensively he has such quick feet, he’s such a good athlete, he’s such a quick jumper; his quickness gives other post players a lot of problems.
“Getting him in foul trouble doesn’t help, but boy, when he’s active like that, he really helps this team. He can be an elite level defender. You’re seeing tonight in the post how that can happen.”
Fourth-year junior Reid Travis, a 6-foot-8 forward, came into the game leading Stanford with 19.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Senior Michael Humphrey, a 6-9 forward, came in averaging 10.7 points and 7.4 boards.
Bey did a nice job against them early, but just 4 minutes, 12 seconds in, he picked up his second foul and went to the bench for the remainder of the half.
“I was kind of upset about it,” Bey said, “so I wanted to come out in the second half and produce for my team and do what I can to win.”
He did just that, hitting a layup in the opening moments of the second half. Later in the half, he had a monster dunk off an offensive rebound.
Bey was especially impressive after Stanford cut the CU lead to one, 50-49, with 5:47 to play. He drained a long jumper, got a steal on defense and then hit another shot on a put-back to quickly build the CU lead back to five. That was the spark CU needed to pull away down the stretch.
“I was just going with the flow of the game,” Bey said. “Coach told me to go to the boards as much as I can, as many times as I can. Me going to the boards and rebounding was a big part of the team.”
Bey wasn’t the only CU post player to pick it up after halftime.
Fellow freshman forward Dallas Walton matched Bey’s first-half stat line (zero points, one rebound), but finished with six points and two boards.
Together, that duo helped to hold Travis and Humphrey to a combined 13 points and 13 boards.
It was the third time on this three-game homestand that CU’s young post players were matched up against veterans. On Feb. 2, they battled Utah seniors David Collette and Tyler Rawson. Then, on Thursday, it was Cal seniors Marcus Lee and Kingsley Okoroh.
“We have freshmen and sophomores in the post going up against these older, experienced guys,” Boyle said. “They’ve shown … defensively, some toughness and some grit that really makes me feel good about the future of our front line in terms of where it stands right now.”