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Buffs End Skid, Roll Past Oregon State

Feb 5, 2022

 

BOULDER — A matchup with struggling Oregon State proved to be just the get-well tonic Colorado needed Saturday, as the Buffaloes rolled to an 86-63 win over the Beavers at the CU Events Center.

CU coach Tad Boyle returned to the bench and the Buffs ended a three-game overall losing streak and a three-game skid on their home court to improve to 14-9 overall and 6-7 in Pac-12 play. The Beavers — who beat the Buffs in the Pac-12 tourney title game last year and reached the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight   — lost their seventh in a row and fell to 3-17, 1-9.

Jabari Walker led four Buffs in double figures, finishing with 15 points and 11 rebounds for his 11th double-double of the season. Keeshawn Barthelemy scored 16 (14 in the first half), Nique Clifford added 15 and Tristan da Silva had 10 points, six rebounds and five assists. Luke O'Brien chipped in seven points and a career-high eight rebounds.

Glenn Taylor Jr. led the Beavers with 15 points.

The Buffs were red-hot from the beginning, hitting their first nine 3-point tries en route to 11 treys in the first half, paving the way for a 49-27 halftime lead. CU then built the cushion to as much as 35 in the second half to coast to the win, finishing 14-for-25 from 3-point range and 32-for-56 overall from the floor.

The Buffs finished with 19 assists and registered a commanding 40-23 edge on the boards.

"This team needed this," said Boyle, who missed Thursday's loss to Oregon because of Covid-19 protocols. "We needed it emotionally and we needed it mentally. We caught a wounded duck at home and it's what we needed."

HOW IT HAPPENED: The Buffs did indeed hit their shots. They knocked down their first four attempts from the floor to take a 10-0 lead less than four minutes in, and they stayed hot the rest of the half.

A 16-2 surge, which included another 10-0 run, gave Colorado a 32-13 lead with nine minutes still to play in the half, as the Buffs hit four threes in the burst, part of a 9-for-9 start from long range.

K.J. Simpson, Julian Hammond III, da Silva and O'Brien all had 3-pointers in what proved to be the decisive stretch of the game.

"When you're making shots, it cures a lot of ills," Boyle said. "We made shots tonight."

After hitting their first nine 3-point tries, CU finished the half 11-for-15 from beyond the arc, part of a 19-for-28 first-half shooting effort. Colorado led by as much as 23, taking a 49-26 lead late in the half, before settling for a 49-27 lead at intermission.

The 11 3-pointers in the first half surpassed Colorado's previous season high for treys in a game (10 against Arizona State) and matched a program record for 3-pointers in a half, equaling the 11 CU hit in the first half of last year's NCAA Tournament win over Georgetown.

Six different Buffs hit at least one 3-pointer in the first half, led by Barthelemy, who had four en route to 14 points in the first half.

"It's definitely been a rough stretch the last three or four games, but our attitude stayed positive," O'Brien said. "It showed today. Overall we played with a lot of energy."

The Buffs also had 11 of their 19 assists in the first half — matching their total in Thursday's loss to Oregon.

"I was really pleased to see them move the ball and share the ball," Boyle said. "When we do that, we're a good offensive team."

Colorado continued to roll in the second half. Battey and Clifford hit 3-pointers early in the half and the Buffs pushed their lead into the 30s less than nine minutes in. CU's big lead, a 35-point margin, came on two Clifford free throws that gave the Buffs a 72-37 advantage with 8:54 still to play.

Oregon State never had an answer on defense, and the Beavers compounded their woes by struggling on the offensive end as well, shooting just 23-for-60.

Colorado's big lead also gave Boyle the opportunity to empty his bench at game's end and give Buffs walk-ons some game experience.

PARQUET WON'T RETURN: Starting guard Elijah Parquet, who had missed four of CU's last six games because of a foot injury, won't return this season. His absence will create a big hole on CU's defensive end of the floor, but will also open up opportunities for some younger Buffs, in particular Clifford.

Clifford has started the last seven games for CU and has steadily increased his impact on both ends of the floor.

TURNING POINT: After OSU closed to within five early in the first half, the Buffs put together a 16-2 surge that included a 10-0 run to take a 32-13 lead. The Beavers never threatened again to pull within single digits.

WHAT IT MEANS: The win was much-needed for the Buffs, as it ended a three-game losing streak. Colorado now has seven conference games remaining — three at home and four on the road — and if the Buffs are going to move at least into the upper half of the conference standings, they need to make a strong stretch run. Saturday's game should give them some confidence heading into that stretch.

KEY STATISTICS: CU finished 14-for-25 from 3-point range and 32-for-56 overall from the floor … The Buffs finished with 19 assists and registered a commanding 40-23 edge on the boards.

QUOTEWORTHY: "It means something to wear this Colorado uniform. It means something that this program has standards and expectations that we have not been meeting here the last two or three weeks. It's not just wins and losses. It's the way we play. It's our body language. It's our toughness. It's all the things that go into helping you win. The guys responded to that." CU head coach Tad Boyle

NEXT UP: The Buffs play just once next week, a 6 p.m. game Saturday at home against Utah (Pac-12 Networks).

Contact: Neill.Woelk@Colorado.edu