EUGENE, Ore.— Repeating what they did the first time against Oregon State might be a little much to ask. The Colorado men’s basketball team learned as much on Thursday night at Oregon.
Still, the Saturday night Pac-12 Conference battle in Corvallis (8:30 p.m. MT, Pac-12 Network) represents an opportunity to stop the bleeding in regard to the Buffaloes’ road woes. The Buffs held Oregon State to a season-low 42 points in a home win on Jan. 7, harassing the Beavers to a .340 mark from the field while forcing 19 turnovers.
Two days prior to that win, the Buffs held Oregon to 42 points, the lowest scoring total for the Ducks in 13 seasons under head coach Dana Altman. The Ducks got their revenge on Thursday, shooting .491 while defeating CU 75-69. It was a stark reminder for the Buffs it won’t be as easy to pick up a win against OSU in the rematch.
“We’ve got to make sure our defense is still on-point,” CU wing Nique Clifford said. “That’s the biggest thing for us. Defense and rebounding, like always. I think we have to finish better as a team at the rim. Easy shots weren’t falling for us (at Oregon), but we got to find a way to win when that’s not happening. Which is where the defense comes in. We have to be ready to go when the time comes on Sunday.”
Tale of the tape
Like the matchup at Oregon on Thursday, the Buffs and OSU boast similar statistical profiles, particularly on defense.
CU ranks eighth in the Pac-12 in overall defensive field goal percentage (.419), while the Beavers rank ninth (.421). The Beavers have a slight advantage in defensive 3-point percentage, ranking seventh at .321. The Buffs are eighth at .327. Despite a season-best 13-for-14 mark at the free throw line during Thursday’s loss at Oregon, CU still ranks last in the conference in free throw percentage at .678. OSU is third at .741.
The Buffs should have an advantage on the boards. CU ranks third in the league with a plus-4.9 average rebounding margin, while the Beavers rank 11th at minus-2.3.
CU was at No. 63 in Saturday’s NET rankings and began the day at No. 55 at KenPom.com. OSU was No. 224 in the NET and No. 211 at KenPom…The Buffs have won six of the past seven matchups with OSU and lead the all-time series 21-10…OSU guard Jordan Pope is the reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Week after he averaged 13.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists during a road split in the Bay Area last week. He went 5-for-11 but just 1-for-5 on 3-pointers with 11 points during a home loss on Thursday against Utah…The Buffs are forcing 14.7 turnovers per game, good for second in the Pac-12.