A steady defensive performance kept Colorado alive in their Pac-12 opener against Oregon State Thursday night in Boulder. The Buffs held the Beavers to a 37.5 field goal percentage to manage a 64-58 victory.
“We rebounded and we got stops when we needed to,” sophomore forward Josh Scott said. “Offensively, there [were] some adjustments, especially when they’re playing 1-3-1.”
The Buffs do find zone defenses tough to handle. “It’s like playing against Syracuse’s zone…they’re so long and athletic that they cover the ground quickly,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “We just didn’t make a lot of shots.”
The top scorers for Colorado were Scott, junior guard Askia Booker and freshman Jaron Hopkins off the bench. Each recorded 13 points. As a team, the Buffs shot 63 percent from the stripe and 38 percent from the field. Only five of 20 three-point shots found the net.
“We saw the opposite of Georgia, where we shot the ball real well,” Scott said. “Tonight I think we played defense real well, so we just need to bring those two things together and we would be pretty special.”
Colorado led Oregon State 28-23 at halftime, but required a major momentum change in order to close out the win in the second half.
“We just knew that the score was a little too close,” said sophomore forward Xavier Johnson. “We needed to come out with a little fire and energy.”
That newfound energy finally began to manifest itself offensively. The Buffs were able to convert OSU’s 17 turnovers into 25 points. Nine of those turnovers resulted from steals by juniors Askia Booker and Spencer Dinwiddie.
“I think we’re all pretty proud,” Scott said. “We battled, and really, it’s all we can ask for.”
“We beat a good team tonight. They’re much better than their record,” Boyle said. “The best thing is, we won when we didn’t shoot the ball well.”
Now at 12-2 for the season and 1-0 in conference play, Colorado is heading into Sunday’s home matchup against the Oregon Ducks with confidence.
“Oregon [will] come in leading the country in scoring, so our defense will be tested,” Boyle said. “We’ll do what we have to do to win… [and] we need our fans. We need a Kansas-type crowd effort on Sunday.”
Tip-off is at 3:00 p.m. MST at the Coors Events Center.
Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Jordyn Siemens at firstname.lastname@example.org.