Daily Camera file photo
Daily Camera file photo
Daily Camera file photo
All things considered, Colorado understood it was fortunate to hold a slim halftime lead against one of the top teams in the Pac-12 Conference.
As CU headed to the locker room after the first 20 minutes of its battle against No. 17 Oregon Thursday afternoon at the CU Events Center, the Buffs couldn’t buy a 3-pointer and had shot just .382 overall on their home floor.
Still, CU led 33-31 at the break, and after halftime the Buffs were able to turn it on. Though they still had to weather a desperate comeback spurred by Oregon’s pressing defense in the final minutes, the Buffs’ ambush after halftime helped push CU to a 79-72 victory in a key Pac-12 Conference battle.
The win improved CU’s mark to 10-0 all-time at home against Oregon. In three of the past four of those home wins, the Ducks arrived in Boulder as a ranked team.
“When you don’t shoot the ball well and you still can figure out a way to win a game against a quality opponent, that says a lot about your team,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “I told them at halftime that we’re shooting 38 percent from the field, we’re shooting 14 percent from three, and we’re up two. So we’re doing something right. We’re competing.”
The Buffs gained control by opening the second half with a 14-2 run, getting points from four different players during the burst in what proved to be a balanced scoring night for CU. While the Buffs led throughout the second half, they still had to hold off an Oregon comeback bid down the stretch.
What had been a 14-point CU lead was trimmed to five on several occasions in the second half, and Oregon got within 73-69 on a 3-pointer from Chris Duarte with 1 minute, 53 seconds left off a turnover as the Ducks’ press gave the Buffs some frustrations in the final minutes. But consecutive drives by Eli Parquet and McKinley Wright IV gave the Buffs breathing room as time ran out on Oregon’s rally.
“At halftime we just talked about turning our defense up,” Wright said. “We said that they had seven layups (in the first half) and we wanted to take those away and continue to get stops. I think we started the half off with a kill (three straight stops)…when we get stops like that and get out in transition, we’re a tough team to beat.”
The Buffs’ veterans came through in a key tilt in the Pac-12 race, with Wright recording the 12th double-double of his career with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists. Wright missed his first five shots of the game but went 7-for-9 the rest of the way with a 6-for-6 mark at the free throw line.
Forward Evan Battey also posted a double-double, the sixth of his career, while recording 12 points and 10 rebounds. Battey also dished out a career-high five assists and went 8-for-8 at the free throw line to pace a 14-for-15 outing by the top free throw shooting team in the nation.
While it was a tough day for CU from long range — the Buffs were 7-for-26 on 3-pointers — senior D’Shawn Schwartz hit a couple key shots from the arc in the second half before finishing with 12 points. Jeriah Horne added 17 points and six rebounds for the Buffs, and Parquet continued his steady play, recording a pair of steals to go with his 4-for-6, eight-point outing on offense.
“The only way you’re going to make a run and expand this lead is to get stops. And we were able to do that,” Boyle said. “We got stops and we converted. We talked about taking care of the ball against their pressure. That was a key the whole game. We did a good job of that I thought in the first part of the second half. The last part of the second half we didn’t do so good of a job. We need to be better against that press.”
What went right: CU shot .552 after halftime (16-for-29) and finished with a 40-28 edge on the glass.
What went wrong: Oregon also shot well (.483 overall) and Ducks star Chris Duarte scored a season-high 27 points. CU also finished with more turnovers (13) than assists (12) for the second consecutive game after doing so just once over the first nine games.
Star of the game: CU’s veterans all played well, but floor general McKinley Wright IV once again was the guy who made it all happen. After an 0-for-5 start, Wright went 7-for-9 the rest of the way, posting the 12th double-double of his career with 21 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists.
What’s next: With Saturday’s scheduled date against Oregon State postponed, the Buffs instead will play at Utah on Monday afternoon (4 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Networks).
COLORADO 79, NO. 17 OREGON 72
OREGON (8-2, 3-1)
Omoruyi 8-15 2-2 18, Williams 1-9 0-2 3, Duarte 10-17 4-5 27, Hardy 3-7 0-0 6, Figueroa 4-7 0-0 10, Lawson 3-4 1-1 8, Estrada 0-1 0-0 0, Wur 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-60 7-10 72.
COLORADO (8-3, 2-2)
Battey 2-6 8-8 12, Horne 7-14 0-0 17, Parquet 4-6 0-1 8, Wright 7-14 6-6 21, Schwartz 5-11 0-0 12, Daniels 2-7 0-0 5, Walker 2-5 0-0 4, Barthelemy 0-0 0-0 0, da Silva 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-63 14-15 79.
Halftime — Colorado 33-31. 3-point goals — Oregon 7-19 (Duarte 3-6, Figueroa 2-3, Lawson 1-1, Williams 1-6, Estrada 0-1, Omoruyi 0-2), Colorado 7-26 (Horne 3-9, Schwartz 2-5, Wright 1-2, Daniels 1-6, Parquet 0-2, Walker 0-2). Rebounds — Oregon 28 (Omoruyi, Duarte 6), Colorado 40 (Battey, Wright 10). Assists — Oregon 8 (Williams, Lawson 2), Colorado 12 (Battey, Wright 5). Total fouls — Oregon 16, Colorado 17.