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Buffs Top Stanford To Complete Three-Game Road Trip Sweep

Feb 19, 2022

 

STANFORD, Calif. — Colorado put five players in double figures and CU's defense was stellar down the stretch Saturday, paving the way for a 70-53 win over Stanford at Maples Pavilion to give the Buffaloes a three-game road trip sweep.

Tad Boyle's Buffs won their fifth straight overall to improve to 18-9 overall and 10-7 in Pac-12 play. The Cardinal fell to 15-12, 8-9.

Evan Battey led the Buffs with 15 points. Nique Clifford added 14 and Keeshawn Barthelemy, Jabari Walker and K.J. Simpson each chipped in 10.

Jaiden Delaire led Stanford with 12 points. 

The victory, on the heels of wins at Oregon State and Cal, gave Colorado just its second three-game conference road trip win streak since 2001 and its first ever three-game sweep on the same road trip.

Colorado rallied from a nine-point first-half deficit to trail by just two at the half, then used a 15-1 run midway through the second half to take the lead for good. The Buffs defense produced a six-minute Cardinal scoring drought in the second half and recorded 16 stops on Stanford's last 20 possessions of the game.

The Buffs finished 24-for-46 from the floor (52 percent) while holding the Cardinal to 21-for-54 shooting. CU also forced 15 Stanford turnovers, converting them into 17 points.

While Walker's streak of consecutive double-doubles came to an end at five, the Buffs had plenty of production up and down the lineup. Clifford collected seven rebounds and Luke O'Brien had five boards and a team-high four assists.

"I'm really proud of this team," Boyle said. "They're really coming into their own. The last couple of weeks we've seen a lot of maturity and growth."

HOW IT HAPPENED: Colorado trailed by nine early and by two at the half, 31-29.

But the Buffs stayed close over the first few minutes of the second half, then finally went ahead for good with a 15-1 run. Walker started the surge with a 3-pointer, Tristan Da Silva hit a pair of buckets and a Simpson's basket gave CU a 51-46 lead midway through the half.

The Buffs then continued the run with two free throws from Simpson, an O'Brien bucket inside and a Walker dunk to give Colorado a 57-46 advantage with 5:27 remaining.

CU's defense played a big role in the surge, as the Buffs held Stanford to 1-for-11 shooting over an eight-minute stretch.

"Our defense won this game tonight," Boyle said. "We did a good job of keeping them out of the paint in the second half and we did a better job on the boards."

Stanford finally ended a six-minute scoring drought with back-to-back baskets to narrow Colorado's lead to seven with under five minutes remaining. But the Buffs regained momentum with eight straight points, capped by Battey's third 3-pointer of the night, to push their lead back to 15 with 2:09 to play and Stanford was finished for the night.

"Player-led teams, which is what we are now, are so much more dangerous than coach-led teams," Boyle said. "It starts with Evan Battey but doesn't end with Evan. This whole team is really coming together as a group. They love each other, they like being around each other, they have a lot of fun on the bus or plane, at practice. They really care about each other and it shows."

Colorado started the night slowly, committing four turnovers on its first six possessions and the Cardinal took advantage, carving out a 15-6 lead seven minutes in.

But the Buffs slowly chipped away at the deficit, putting together a 15-3 run to take a 21-18 lead with 7:31 to play in the half. Nique Clifford had four points to start the surge, Simpson added six in a row, Will Loughlin tallied a basket and free throw and Clifford finished the burst with a shot off the glass.

But Colorado couldn't maintain the momentum and Stanford came back to take the lead by intermission, getting a Delaire 3-pointer in the final seconds of the half to take a 31-29 lead into halftime.

TURNING POINT: The Buffs used some smothering defense and timely buckets to put together a 15-1 run midway through the second half, turning a 45-42 deficit into a 57-46 lead. Stanford never came closer than seven again.

WHAT IT MEANS: The Buffs built some great momentum with their fifth straight win and are playing their best ball of the year. With two regular season home games remaining and one more on the road, they still have a solid chance of moving into the top four of the Pac-12 standings and collecting a first-round tournament bye.

KEY STATISTICS: The recorded 16 stops on Stanford's last 20 possessions of the game … Colorado 24-for-46 from the floor (52 percent) while holding the Cardinal to 21-for-54 shooting, including just 9-for-28 after intermission … CU also forced 15 Stanford turnovers, converting them into 17 points.

QUOTEWORTHY: "You can't get too high and you can't get too low. We have to stay the course and get ready for Arizona State." — CU head coach Tad Boyle

NEXT UP: The Buffs wrap up their regular season home schedule next week with two games, playing host to Arizona State on Thursday at 7 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks), then hosting Arizona on Saturday at 6 p.m. (ESPN2/U).

Contact: Neill.Woelk@Colorado.edu