Buffs Top Stanford For Fourth Straight Win
BOULDER — Colorado's Evan Battey recorded a double-double and the Buffaloes had four players in double figures Saturday as CU won its fourth straight game, a 77-64 win over Stanford at the CU Events Center.
The Buffs, who beat the Cardinal for the seventh straight time at their home floor, improved to 11-3 overall and 5-2 in Pac-12 play with while Stanford dropped to 8-5, 4-3.
Battey finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for the junior's second double-double of the year and seventh of his career. Senior point guard McKinley Wright IV added 14 points and eight assists for the Buffs, freshman Jabari Walker had 11 points and eight rebounds and senior Jeriah Horne chipped in 10 points.
Stanford's Oscar da Silva led all scorers with 22 points.
Colorado took control with an 11-0 run in the final minutes of the first half to take a 40-26 lead at intermission. The Cardinal pulled to within eight at several junctures in the second half before CU put the game away for good with a 16-2 surge for a 72-50 lead with just more than four minutes remaining in the game.
CU shot just 41% for the game (28-for-68) but held the Cardinal to 37% shooting (22-for-60). Colorado also forced 15 turnovers, which the Buffs converted into 17 points, and CU's defense held Stanford scoreless for four minutes in the first half and five minutes in the second.
CU also held a 42-36 rebounding edge and a 28-8 edge in points off the bench.
"Good win against a quality team," CU coach Tad Boyle said. "I've got a lot of respect for Stanford — the institution, (coach) Jerod Haase, their players. They do things the right way. They're a great member of this conference, and when you beat a team that you have great respect for, it feels good."
HOW IT HAPPENED: After a back-and-forth first 13 minutes, the Buffs took control in the final minutes of the first half. Colorado closed the half with an 18-5 surge that included an 11-0 run over the last 3:43.
Wright started the run with a layup, followed by a pair of Maddox Daniels 3-pointers. Tristan da Silva then capped the run with a 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer to send Colorado into intermission with a 40-26 lead.
CU's balance and depth took its toll on a depleted Stanford team in the first half. Nine different players scored for Colorado in the opening 20 minutes and CU had 11 assists on 16 baskets.
The Buffs also hit 7 of their final 10 3-point tries in the half after connecting on just one of their first seven, and their eight 3-pointers were the most in any half this year.
On the defensive end, CU forced four Stanford turnovers in the final six minutes of the half.
"We've got a lot of capable players on our bench," said Boyle, whose bench outscored their Stanford counterparts 28-8. "I love our versatility and depth. Early in the season our depth was untested. Now they're feeling more confident."
After Colorado's big first-half finish, Stanford quickly cut the margin back to single digits early in the second half with a 10-2 run. With just more than 12 minutes to play, CU's lead had been narrowed to 56-48.
But Colorado's defense began to take its toll on the Cardinal. Battey exerted his will inside, making Stanford's da Silva work for every shot, and the Buffs put together their decisive 16-2 surge.
"We played really well offensively the first half, we were efficient," Boyle said. "I thought Stanford was tired the first half. I thought they were exhausted in the second half."
Defensively, CU got big blocks from Walker and Eli Parquet to help force 16 empty Stanford possessions in an eight-minute span. On the offensive end, Walker started the run with a basket inside, then added a steal and layup minutes later. D'Shawn Schwartz hit a short jumper out of a timeout, Wright and Horne each hit a pair of free throws and Horne capped the run with a basket at the 4:16 mark to give Colorado a 22-point edge, 72-50.
"We try our best to play for 40 minutes and that's what we pride ourselves on," Battey said. "It's 100% mental toughness, intensity and focus for 40 minutes. That's what we try to focus on. Obviously we play the game in stretches. We know we're going to make runs and they're going to make runs but it's all about staying focused."
TURNING POINT: After the two teams traded the lead 10 times in the opening 12 minutes, the Buffs took control with an 11-0 run to close the first half for a 40-26 lead at intermission. Stanford never came closer than eight again.
WHAT IT MEANS: Now 3-0 at home, the Buffs will finish the weekend in no worse than fourth place in the Pac-12 with two winnable road games on the horizon.
KEY STATISTICS: CU shot just 41% for the game (28-for-68) but held the Cardinal to 37% shooting (22-for-60) …. Colorado forced 15 turnovers, which the Buffs converted into 17 points … CU held a 42-36 rebounding edge and a 28-8 edge in points off the bench.
QUOTEWORTHY: "Our main focus has just been about focusing on playing together and as a team. When McKinley (Wright IV) came out, he said the one thing he loves about this team is how no one cares about their own stats and we're just focused on winning. That sums it up completely. We go out there and play for each other and the coaches. It's a family and we have a very strong bond on and off the court and I think that chemistry really shows on the court." — CU senior Jeriah Horne
NEXT UP: Colorado hits the road for two games next week, beginning with a 7 p.m. game (MT) Wednesday at Washington (ESPNU). CU then travels across the state Saturday for a 6 p.m. game at Washington State (ESPN2 or ESPNU).