Higgins Nets Career-High, Buffs Roll
BOULDER – Sophomore guard Cory Higgins scored a career-high 24 points, and junior Dwight Thorne II added 14 points leading the University of Colorado men's basketball team to a 73-59 victory over Lafayette College (Pa.), Tuesday night at the Coors Events Center.
The win improves CU to 3-1 with a two-game win streak heading to Stanford, Saturday, Nov. 29 for a nationally televised FSN game to take on the Cardinal.
The Leopards, who never led, have lost three in a row falling to 2-3. CU's win was their first-ever victory against Lafayette and the Patriot League.
For the fourth straight game, CU received balanced scoring in addition to Higgins and Thorne II. Freshman Austin Dufault added 11 points – his fourth consecutive game with 10 or more points, in addition to point-guard Nate Tomlinson with 10 points, four rebounds and three assists.
Jermyl Jackson-Wilson grabbed a career-high 11 defensive rebounds.
"There was a lot of good," said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "But I think that we need to improve on our defensive rebounding and turnovers.We need to get better in both those areas. We have to culminate the defense with rebounding and get out and run, because we are a good team when we get out and run."
Lafayette found itself down early, however held its own throughout the first half clawing back and cutting its deficit to 20-16 with under eight minutes remaining. The Buffs used balanced scoring throughout the opening 20 minutes to remain in front by a 34-27 margin at the break.
In the second half, the Leopards rallied in the opening stages of the game on a 7-3 run cutting its deficit to 37-33, however CU remained ahead on a brilliant Tomlinson alley-oop pass to Higgins for a 39-33. A three-point play by Thorne increased CU's lead to 48-40 with 11 minutes remaining.
Colorado's scoring surge continued with a pair of free throws by Jackson-Wilson and a three-pointer by Thorne giving CU their biggest lead of the game at 55-42. The Buffs kept up the momentum, going on a seven-point run with Dufault and Higgins each making two free throws, and then Tomlinson added a trey at the top of the key giving the Buffs their largest margin of the night, a 19-point cushion at 64-45.
CU shot 22-of-43 (51.2 percent) from the field and hit 23-of-30 (76.7 percent) from the free throw line, while Lafayette only managed 35.1 percent from the field (20-of-57). The Buffs also capitalized on their quickness racking up a season-high 11 steals compared to Lafayette's four.