The Colorado Buffaloes defeated the Stanford Cardinal 91-72 in rare fashion for Tad Boyle’s 100th win at Coors Event Center. In a game that featured the Buffs’ highest point total all season, and a remarkable six players in double digits, it finally looked as if the Buffs were putting a full-team effort on display.
The Buffs’ bench was also a major factor in tonight’s contest as they accounted for 42 points.
Junior guard Dominique Collier got into foul trouble early as he picked up his first two fouls less than two minutes into the game. For the first time in several games, another Buff besides senior guard Derrick White got off to a hot start. Senior forward Wesley Gordon had four points and a key assist to junior guard George King in the first three minutes.
Another Buff who started strong was senior forward Xavier Johnson. He crashed the boards with four rebounds in the first eleven and a half minutes, including an impressive defensive rebound between Stanford’s Michael Humphrey and Reid Travis. Although it may have seemed like White had minimal impact, he still finished the first half with seven points.
For Stanford, it was Humphrey who looked good early, with nine points and an impressive 5-of-6 shooting from the field. One thing CU did particularly well was limiting standout forward Reid Travis to only five points in the first half. Marcus Sheffield also made an impact with two shots from behind the arc off the bench.
“We had a good game plan for [Reid] Travis,” King said. “We know he likes to go right and they like to clear the right side of the course for him. So we sit on his right hand and force him into the help on the left side of the course. He was still able to get fouls but it wasn’t as many as he normally gets. We knew that if we were able to slow him down that our chance of winning the game was that much greater.”
It seemed like Stanford’s heavy focus on stopping White opened up opportunities for other players. Colorado did a great job closing out the first half with a 11-3 run in the final three minutes. This run was aided by back-to-back three balls from freshman guard Deleon Brown and another one from King. After the game, White attributed the team’s success to a scrimmage drill during the week in which the team’s points only counted if an assist was involved.
“That drill forces you to look for your teammates because if you don’t, you don’t score any points so it was a good drill for us, and it’s something that we need to continue on,” White said.
The Buffs strong end to the first half carried into the second half as Colorado went on a 7-2 run out of the gate, causing Stanford head coach Jerod Haase to call a timeout. The run was led by King, who came out of the locker room strong with five quick points. After the game, Haase talked about what led to the team’s struggles.
“Our inability to get stops at the end of the first half and in the second half. It starts with dribble penetration and the inability to guard the different screens they were giving. They were getting interior post touches that led to a bunch of threes,” said coach Haase
A funny moment in the game came when the Cardinal’s Grant Verhoeven shot the ball into the crevice of the rim.
Stanford continued its sloppy play in the second half as they went nearly two minutes without a basket. During this stretch, there was poor shot selection from Marcus Allen, who took an ill-advised three and a running layup in traffic.
By the time King and Johnson checked out, Colorado was up 61-45 with 12 minutes left to play.
Although Travis came out strong in the second half, Colorado was able to rely on its bench to keep the lead in the later stages of the game. The Buffaloes were aided by strong play from freshman forward Lucas Siewert, who finished with 15 points, and junior forward Tory Miller, who added 10 points. King and Johnson also scored 15 points a piece.
Colorado will play their final game of the regular season this Saturday at home against the California Golden Bears. Tipoff is scheduled for noon (MST).
Contact CU Independent sports staff writer Jack Stern at firstname.lastname@example.org.