Higgins Double Propels Buffs
BOULDER – Sophomore guard Cory Higgins recorded his second career double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds leading the University of Colorado men's basketball team to a 65-52 victory over Western State College (Colo.), Wednesday night at the Coors Events Center.
It was the last non-conference game for the Buffaloes (8-6) before starting Big 12 play next week. CU broke a three-game losing skid, while the Mountaineers, residing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference fall to 6-6.
Tonight's match up was the first between the two schools in 73 years.
""There are signs that are very encouraging, and there are things that are very disappointing," said CU head coach Jeff Bzdelik. "As I have said all along, this is going to be a challenging year because of our youth, and that's what happens when you have young players. It's about where we are headed and that all of these young players are getting experience."
Western State never led in the first half, however made things interesting in the second taking their first lead of the game at 16:29, their only lead at 35-33, and toyed with pulling off the upset.
CU responded with a 10-2 run over the next 2:30 led by redshirt-sophomore Casey Crawford and freshman Nate Tomlinson each scoring five points.
There the lead would increase to double-digits with four points scored by Higgins, another layup by Crawford, who scored all of his eight points in the second half. CU would not be threatened the rest of the way jumping out to a pair of 13-point cushions for their eighth win on the season.
CU received balanced scoring from Tomlinson, who added nine points and three assists; senior Jermyl Jackson-Wilson chipped-in eight points and grabbed five rebounds; and junior Dwight Thorne II added eight points.
The Mountaineers, who average 8.7 three-pointers and 25 three-point attempts a game, fired up six-of-26 for the game, including 4-of-12 in the first half that kept them close in the opening 20 minutes trailing 26-25 at the break.
For the game, WSC hit 18-of-57 (31.6 percent) from the field while Colorado shot 46.0 percent (23-of-50). The Buffs out-rebounded WSC, 37-33, 31 were defensive.
It looked like CU would run away from its in-state foe, jumping out with the game's first six points over the opening 65 seconds with Thorne scoring four points and a Higgins layup. However, WSC kept it close throughout the first 20 minutes with four three-pointers led by Justin Avalos' 14 points.
It's Higgins' second double-double in the last 10 days (21 points, 10 rebounds, Dec. 28 vs. Coppin State) and now has led CU in scoring nine times (one shared) this season, tallied 12 of his 24 points in the first half.
Higgins also kept his record-breaking free throw streak alive, hitting 5-of-5 tonight. He has made 45 consecutive free throws over eight games and currently holds the school and Big 12 Conference record.
The Mountaineers were led by Avalos with 16 points, 14 of them in the first half. Cameron Burney added 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
CU is idle until the Big 12 Conference opener at Missouri, Jan. 14 for a 7 p.m. (MST) start at the Mizzou Arena. The game will be televised on ESPNU.