Two nights after collapsing down the stretch against Oregon, the Buffaloes on Saturday completed their road trip, taking down the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis, 69-47.
The Buffs (20-6, 9-4 Pac-12) took a nine-point lead into halftime and kept the pressure on the Beavers throughout the second half, leading by at least nine points for the rest of the game. Junior guard/forward Tyler Bey rebounded from a lackluster outing in Eugene; he tallied his 10th double-double of the season, with 21 points and 15 boards.
Bey additionally became just the seventh player in program history to eclipse 1,000 career points and 750 rebounds.
Junior guard McKinley Wright IV also posted a double-double, good for his fifth of 2019-20.
Against Oregon, Colorado’s 18 turnovers were the most the team had surrendered since mid-December on the road at Colorado State, when the Buffs had 21. Saturday in Corvallis, the Buffs’ collective ball security was looking much better. In total, CU committed just eight turnovers.
Overall, it was a healthy night at the office for Colorado in terms of shooting, as CU posted a 41% make rate from the floor. The Buffs sank 45% of their three-pointers and handled themselves well enough at the free throw line, going 16-of-23 (70%).
The Buffaloes may have let a golden opportunity slip away in Eugene on Thursday, but rest assured they averted a major down-the-stretch wound by taking care of business and defeating Oregon State on the road. Oregon plays Stanford Monday evening; a Ducks win would create a tie for first place in the Pac-12 Conference between them and CU.
For now, Colorado hangs on to sole possession of top dog in the Pac-12.
Telling was the 6% (1-of-17) make rate the Beavers had from ling range. In total, Oregon State made just 33% of its shots from the floor. The Buffs neutralized OSU’s Ethan Thompson, who dropped 24 points the last time these two teams met, on Jan. 5 in Boulder.
“We were basically trying to take Thompson out of the offense (by) double-teaming him out of screens,” said sophomore guard Eli Parquet. “Individually, we just tried to keep him in front, play good defense and make him take two(-point shots).”
Head coach Tad Boyle commented after the win that he implemented some-mid game adjustments to try to slow down Thompson. Rarely will Boyle turn to a zone defense as opposed to man-to-man, but Saturday in Corvallis the Buffaloes indeed show the Beavers a zone and to good effect.
“In the second half, they were spreading us out and driving us, which Oregon State is good at,” Boyle said. “We had some foul trouble so we went to the zone. It worked and we stayed with it. What the zone did is that it made them burn clock on offense…our guys really executed to a tee, offensively and defensively.”
Boyle’s second half decision to switch from man to zone is ironic — on Jan. 5, the Beavers switched to a 1-3-1 zone late in the second half, utilizing it to come back against the Buffs down the stretch and eventually win. This time around, it was Colorado that benefitted from an in-game tweak.
From the 14:17 mark of the first half, the Buffaloes led in the game and never relinquished their lead. Parquet had a big dunk following a feed from Wright IV with about nine minutes left in the game that sucked the life out of the Gill Coliseum.
At that point, CU led, 53-34. From there, the Buffs hardly looked back, never taking their foot off of the gas. The victory hands Boyle, who’s in his 10th season as head coach at CU, his seventh season featuring 20 or more wins.
Up next for Colorado is the Buffaloes’ final home stand of the season.This upcoming Thursday, Feb. 20, the Buffs host Southern Cal at the CU Events Center. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. MST.
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