The University of Colorado men’s basketball team and an electric Coors Events Center sent 10th-ranked Oregon home to Eugene with their first loss of the season. The Ducks fell to Colorado 100-91 Sunday in Boulder after a fast-paced game with several lead changes and a standout performance by junior guard Askia Booker.
Booker led the charge for the Buffs in the first half, netting 11 points, a steal and two assists. He recorded a career-high 27 points overall and accounted for half of Colorado’s total points when combined with junior guard Spencer Dinwiddie’s 23. The last time CU had two players score over 20 points each was in March of 2011 against California.
“Its pretty simple,” Dinwiddie said. “When [Askia] plays really well, we play really well. When it’s clicking, we score a lot.”
Both Dinwiddie and sophomore forward Xavier Jonson contributed seven points in the first half. After making a contested layup at the 3:40 mark, Johnson followed up with a free throw that brought the crowd to its feet. The energy kept the Buffs on top until the halftime buzzer.
After a slow start to the second half, the Ducks rallied back to a 10 point lead (58-48) with 14:22 to play. The Buffs called a timeout and picked up the pace immediately after.
“We were really at the brink there when we called the timeout down 10,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “Our guys really responded. To beat teams like Oregon…we have to do it together.”
The Buffs shot .564 from the field in the second half, and were led by the Booker/Dinwiddie shooting tandem. According to Boyle, Dinwiddie has enormous potential to take over games when he is shooting well.
“We want to play fast, get up and down,” Boyle said. “It was fun today. He definitely felt it…[and] he can finish. To me, that’s what college basketball’s all about.”
Three of Dinwiddie’s points came at the 11:21 mark, which began a short 5-0 run for the Buffs, including a three from freshman guard Jaron Hopkins at 9:22 that caused an Oregon timeout.
Following the timeout, Dinwiddie answered the Ducks’ first shots with two three-pointers of his own in under a minute. This brought Colorado’s scoring run to 19-4 over the Ducks.
Aside from Colorado’s perimeter points, sophomore forward Josh Scott continued his season success in recording his eighth double-double, with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
“He’s a beast,” Boyle said of Scott. “He’s got a lot of confidence right now.”
Scott is currently tied for first in the Pac-12 for double-double games with Arizona State center Jordan Bachynski and achieved a new career high of four blocks against the Ducks.
The Ducks began a full-court press with under five minutes to play, but that was not enough to hold Colorado back. An entire off-the-bench lineup, including senior center and fan favorite Ben Mills, entered the game with 10 seconds to go and enjoyed a nine-point victory when the final buzzer sounded.
Colorado forced nine turnovers and held the Ducks to shooting 42.3 percent from the field. Oregon entered Sunday’s game ranked seventh in the country in field goal shooting with a season average of .503.
The common denominator in Colorado’s offensive performance was near-perfection from the stripe. The Buffs made 33 of their 39 free throws, 17 of which were successive.
Colorado travels to Pullman, Washington this week to face Washington State on Wednesday night. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
“It’s time to take this show on the road and prove that we can win away from home as well,” Dinwiddie said.
Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Jordyn Siemens at email@example.com