PALO ALTO, Calif. - The Colorado Buffaloes barely escaped the Bay Area trip with a split, beating Stanford 56-55 in Maples Pavilion. CU improved to 12-3 on the year and 1-1 in conference play with tonight's effort.
The Buffs were up by as much as 16 points in the second half, but a cold shooting streak and a collection of turnovers saw their lead cut to one. Fortunately for CU, time ran out right before Stanford could completely wash away CU's lead.
Colorado steamed out to a hot start with wet shooting, getting out to a 22-10 lead behind three three-pointers. Quickly, it seemed as if the Buffs would chop down the Cardinal but their lead was cut to five right before the half giving CU fair warning that it'd be a dogfight until the very end.
In the second half, the Buffs extended their lead to 46-30 but Stanford finished the game on a 25-10 run. From the seven minute mark on the game was played between a one-possession difference. Ten second half turnovers and a 32% field goal percentage were the stats that displayed the Buffs mediocrity in the second half. Colorado once again struggled with free throws missing three key ones down the stretch and only hitting eight times out of their 13 trips to the line.
Overall the Buffs early lead propelled them to a big conference road win despite a horrible stretch of play that almost cost them the game. No matter how you get them, they are wins but Tad Boyle was not happy with the team's play in the second half.
"We did not play our best basketball, especially the second half," Boyle said postgame on 760 AM. "The first twenty I thought we were pretty good, we were efficient offensively, I thought we were guarding well but the last twenty minutes boy, we got to get better. Offensively we lost our mojo we lost our ball movement and we got scared at times. There was some fear in our eyes. A lot of guys on the floor had never been in that situation before, thank God for Wesley Gordan and Josh Scott who have been. I thought those veteran big guys really did a good job."
It was the first time CU had won a game that they didn't score 70 or more points in this season and they did not even reach 60. It speaks towards their defense perhaps becoming more reliable which is something Boyle preaches first thing every day as he gets out of bed.
"Our program is built for nights like this when you're on the road and things go dormant for you offensively," Boyle told. "We got out of it because we held them to 31% and we rebounded enough at the end."
It's almost too cliche to name Scott the player of the game after every Buffs showing but once again the All-American candidate piloted CU out of a storm. His 14 points and 14 boards were solid enough stats but his steady hand is what kept the Buffs from crashing. Scott led the team in minutes with 38 and made up for the absence of reserve big man Tory Miller who was injured.
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"We were lucky to win this game, our offense went dormant." - Tad Boyle
BY THE NUMBERS
-16 - Xavier Talton's +/- in 15 minutes of action
8.3 - The second half 3FG% from the Buffs
+14 - Colorado's rebound margin
18 - The number of turnovers Colorado had in the contest
45.5 - The first half 3FG% from the Buffs
Colorado will face Utah who is 0-2 in conference play on Friday. The Buffs have started Pac-12 play with a 1-1 record for the first time. The game against the Utes tips at 7:00 PM at the Coors Events Center.