CORVALLIS, Ore. — Just like a few weeks ago, Colorado began its atypical three-game conference road trip with a solid victory.
Now the challenge will be to not let the momentum evaporate as the week continues.
CU got its final extended road trip of the regular season off to an impressive start on Tuesday, posting a 90-64 win against Oregon State at Gill Coliseum. The win secured a regular season sweep of the Beavers by CU and extended the Buffs’ winning streak to three games.
Three weeks ago, the Buffs began a similar three-game trip with a win in Oregon, though that time it was the Ducks. That trip fizzled quickly with ugly losses at Washington and Washington State, and it’s a fate the Buffs are keen to avoid as the move on to the Bay Area.
It was the fourth time this season the Buffs had an opportunity to complete a regular season sweep of a Pac-12 Conference foe, but the first time CU was able to seal that deal.
“That was the emphasis for today, just getting a good start off to the road trip,” CU sophomore Jabari Walker said. “We understand we have more competition ahead. We had the opportunity last time and we didn’t do so great. It wasn’t our identity and we don’t want to be remembered as that. We have another opportunity now and we’re looking to make the best of it.”
CU ended the first half with a flourish, using a 14-2 run to take a 44-32 lead at the break. If there was a significant flaw in what otherwise was a superb first half for the Buffs it was their eight turnovers, and that same issue helped the Beavers get back in the game immediately after halftime.
CU committed three more turnovers during the first three minutes of the second half, leading to a 9-2 OSU run. The Beavers eventually made it a 12-4 run that cut CU’s lead to 48-44 with just under 15 minutes remaining. OSU remained within six points midway through the second half when the Buffs took control with a 9-2 run, getting five points during that burst from sophomore Luke O’Brien.
O’Brien continued his recent surge off the bench by hitting three 3-pointers and finishing with 14 points, both of which were career-highs.
“It was one of those games where I was feeling it,” O’Brien said. “Obviously I’m not going to take this and feel like I have to score every game. It was one of those games where my teammates definitely helped me. Credit to them, because they gave me the ball. But if next game I score zero points and we win, I’m good with that.”
Five players scored in double figures for CU, led by the fourth consecutive double-double from Walker. The sophomore forward went 10-for-10 at the free throw line before matching a career-high with 24 points while recording a career-high 15 rebounds. Nique Clifford (14 points, seven rebounds, four assists) and Tristan da Silva (15 points, five rebounds, four assists) both turned in solid all-around games for the Buffs.
CU went 10-for-21 on 3-pointers while holding Oregon State to a 3-for-19 mark from the arc. The Buffs finished with a season-high 20 assists and shot an even 50 percent, marking the first time this season CU has shot at least 50 percent in three consecutive games. Defensively, the Buffs held Oregon State without a point for a stretch of 6:05 late in the second half.
“I thought we got into trading baskets mode early in the second half,” CU head coach Tad Boyle said. “That’s why we couldn’t put them away. We couldn’t extend because we weren’t getting stops consecutively, and we did a better job of that in the second part of the second half.”
What went right: CU hit 10 3-pointers, recorded a season-high 20 assists, and went 18-for-22 at the free throw line.
What went wrong: The Buffs’ turnovers — eight in the first half, and three more immediately after halftime — kept the Beavers in the game. But after recording their 11th turnover less than three minutes into the second half, the Buffs committed just two more the rest of the way.
Star of the game: Jabari Walker. The sophomore forward posted his fourth consecutive double-double and his Pac-12-leading 13th of the season, going 10-for-10 at the free throw line with a career-high-tying 24 points to go with a career-high 15 rebounds.
What’s next: The middle game of CU’s three-game road trip will be at Cal on Thursday (7:30 p.m., Pac-12 Network).
Colorado 90, Oregon State 64
COLORADO (16-9, 8-7 Pac-12)
Battey 1-4 2-2 4, Walker 6-12 10-10 24, da Silva 4-6 5-6 15, Barthelemy 3-10 0-0 7, Clifford 6-10 0-1 14, O’Brien 5-6 1-3 14, Simpson 5-12 0-0 10, Hammond 1-2 0-0 2, Loughlin 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-62 18-22 90.
OREGON ST. (3-20, 1-12 Pac-12)
Alatishe 4-10 0-0 8, Taylor 4-7 0-0 8, Silva 2-3 0-0 4, Davis 9-17 3-3 22, Lucas 2-12 2-3 7, Calloo 4-9 0-1 9, Rand 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 28-63 5-7 64.
Halftime — Colorado 44-32. 3-point field goals — Colorado 10-21 (O’Brien 3-4, Clifford 2-3, Walker 2-3, da Silva 2-3, Barthelemy 1-4, Battey 0-1, Simpson 0-3), Oregon St. 3-19 (Davis 1-3, Calloo 1-4, Lucas 1-8, Alatishe 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Rand 0-2). Rebounds — Colorado 45 (Walker 15), Oregon St. 25 (Alatishe, Silva, Calloo 5). Assists — Colorado 20 (da Silva, Barthelemy, Clifford 4), Oregon St. 16 (Davis 6). Total fouls — Colorado 11, Oregon St. 17. A — 3,060.