Buffs Topple Stanford To Start Road Trip On Right Foot
STANFORD, Calif. — McKinley Wright IV just missed a triple-double and Colorado used balanced scoring and solid defense Thursday to collect a 69-51 win over Stanford, giving the Buffaloes a season sweep of the Cardinal.
CU improved to 16-5 overall and 10-4 in Pac-12 play while Stanford fell to 12-8, 8-6. The win in the first of four on the road kept the Buffs firmly in third place in the Pac-12 standings and gave them their fourth conference road win of the season, tying the most in their Pac-12 history.
Wright finished with 14 points, nine assists and nine rebounds, Eli Parquet added 10 points, and D'Shawn Schwartz and Jeriah Horne each chipped in nine.
Oscar da Silva led Stanford with 22 points.
The Buffs played well on both ends of the floor. Offensively, CU shot 49% (28-for-57) with 14 assists and 11 turnovers. Defensively, Colorado held Stanford to 40% shooting, just four offensive rebounds and only 24 points in the paint — less than half what the Cardinal scored inside in a victory over CU at Stanford last season.
Colorado also held a 32-23 overall edge on the boards.
CU coach Tad Boyle called the game "the best execution of a defensive game plan we've had all year."
The Buffs started the game with a 10-0 run before Stanford rallied to take a momentary 13-12 lead. But another 10-0 Colorado run put the Buffs back in the lead and they never trailed again, as the closest Stanford could come was within six midway through the second half. The Buffs then answered that Stanford rally with yet one more 10-0 run to put the game away.
"McKinley Wright was special," Boyle said. "He wasn't going to let us lose tonight. We fought through foul trouble again with Evan (Battey) and Dallas (Walton), Tristan da Silva gave us great minutes off the bench and Eli Parquet made a couple big shots like he's been known to do. Really a great team victory. I wasn't expecting one like this going away."
HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado led by 11 at the half, 34-23, before Stanford made one more run to shave the margin to six, 49-43, with 11:32 to play.
But the Buffs then regained control to put the game away with their third 10-0 run of the game. Horne and Maddox Daniels each had 3-pointers in the surge before a Horne dunk with 9:26 to play gave CU a 57-43 edge, with Wright getting an assist on two of the baskets.
Colorado then pushed its lead to 14 on a Battey basket before Stanford finally ended a four-minute scoring drought to pull within 59-45. But Wright then scored back-to-back buckets to give CU an 18-point cushion, 63-45, with seven minutes to play and the Buffs never gave Stanford another chance down the stretch.
"It felt like a must-win," Wright said. "We talked about it coming down here. This is something we wanted to do, sweep this road trip, and we knew we couldn't do it without winning the first one. I just wanted to do whatever I could tonight to make sure we won this game."
The Buffs were balanced in just about every category. Along with six players scoring at least eight points, they also had five players with at least four rebounds. On the defensive end, aside from da Silva's 22 points, no Stanford player had more than seven points.
"This program is based on defense and rebounding," Wright said. "We have so many offensive weapons, offense isn't a huge concern for us. As long as we can get stops and get out and run, we're a really good team. We're hard to beat."
Colorado started strong, jumping out to a 10-0 lead before Stanford responded with a 13-2 run to take a 13-12 lead midway through the half.
But the Buffs regained control over the last 10 minutes. CU put together another 10-0 run, getting 3-pointers from Tristan da Silva and Dallas Walton in the surge to take a 22-13 lead. The Buffs then extended their cushion to 11 points by halftime, with Eli Parquet hitting a 3-pointer and D'Shawn Schwartz scoring four points in the final five minutes.
The Buffs then maintained that cushion throughout the half, taking a 34-23 lead into intermission.
BACK-TO-BACK DEFENSE: Combined with the 49 points CU allowed Oregon State in a 78-49 win Monday, the Buffs gave up just 100 points in back-to-back conference games. The last time CU accomplished that was in 2012, when they held Arizona State and Utah to 97 points. Prior to that, the last time CU held conference opponents to a combined 100 points or less in consecutive games was 1962-63.
TURNING POINT: After Stanford closed to within six with 11:32 to play in the game, the Buffs answered with a 10-0 run to turn momentum back to their side and put the game away.
WHAT IT MEANS: The win keeps the Buffs firmly in third place in the Pac-12 standings and gives them a good shot at a road trip sweep, as they play at last-place Cal on Saturday.
KEY STATISTICS: CU shot 49% (28-for-57) with 14 assists and 11 turnovers … The Buffs held Stanford to 40% shooting, just four offensive rebounds and only 24 points in the paint … Colorado also held a 32-23 overall edge on the boards.
QUOTEWORTHY: "Overall just a great effort. Our guys were dialed in. I told them after the game, good teams split on the road in Pac-12 play. Great teams sweep. We did the first part. Now we have to turn our attention to Cal." — CU coach Tad Boyle
NEXT UP: The Buffs continue their stint of four straight on the road Saturday by wrapping up their Bay Area trip with an 8 p.m. game at Cal (ESPNU). After that, CU plays Thursday, Feb. 18, at Oregon (9 p.m., ESPN2), followed by a Feb. 20 contest at Oregon State (6 p.m., ESPNU).