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Perfection is rarely achieved in the sports world, but the 21st-ranked University of Colorado men’s basketball team (11-2) was perfect from the free throw line against the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday night and left Coors Events Center with an 84-70 victory.
The last time the Buffs shot 100 percent from the free throw line was February 1980 against Nebraska, but the record set during that game was only 14 of 14. Saturday’s Buffs crushed that record, going 26 of 26, and set another of 28 consecutive free throws made after the Georgia game’s statistics were combined with last weekend’s Oklahoma State game.
Sophomore forward Josh Scott “had no clue” about the record, he said. “Our guys are taking it on themselves to shoot more. It encourages people to make their free throws in practice and work on it.”
Colorado’s momentum began with sophomore guard Xavier Johnson’s nine points from the three-point line in the first five minutes of play.
“Spencer [Dinwiddie] gave me the ball for open jump shots, and I was able to knock ‘em down,” Johnson said. He credited his success to the home court advantage. “It’s always easy to shoot at the court you’ve been shooting on for two years.”
Although Johnson’s early shots came from the outside, getting past Georgia’s man-to-man defense was not difficult for the Buffs, who scored 26 points in the paint.
“[Tonight was] a great offensive performance by our team,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “Best one we had all year, actually.”
Each starter for the Buffaloes scored over 10 points, with junior guard Askia Booker topping the stat sheet at 19 points. All but freshman Wesley Gordon outshot the Bulldog’s top scorers, Nemanja Djurisic and Kenny Gaines, who contributed 12 points each. Josh Scott recorded his sixth double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds, and is now tied for second overall in the Pac-12 for individual double-double games.
“I have all the confidence in the world right now,” Scott said. “We’re feeling pretty confident going in to Pac-12 play.”
Although the Bulldogs and the Buffaloes both shot an identical 48 percent from the field and recorded 29 attempts each in the first half, Colorado saw their largest lead with 4:17 to play before halftime. They led by 18 at that point and finished the half at 46-35.
The second half ended with five bench players controlling the final minutes of the game, halting Georgia’s five-game winning streak. The final score was 84-70.
According to Boyle, improvements still need to be made defensively in order to be successful against other Pac-12 teams in January.
“We rebound the ball very well as a team,” Boyle said. “But I’m always critical of ourselves. Our identity needs to come on the defensive end.”
Colorado begins an 18-game conference schedule on Thursday, Jan. 2 with a home game against Oregon State. The Buffs are currently tied with UCLA and Arizona State for the fourth-best season record in the Pac-12, and are undefeated at home. None of the 12 conference teams have a losing record.
For a photo gallery of the game, click here.
Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Jordyn Siemens at firstname.lastname@example.org.