The last time the Oregon State Beavers faced the Colorado Buffaloes was in last year’s Big 12/Pac-10 Hardwood Series. In that matchup, the Buffaloes dominated the Beavers 83-57.
Thursday night’s game at the Coors Events Center featured much more evenly-matched teams both looking to climb the narrow Pac-12 standings. The result, however, was similar to last year.
The Buffs came into this game following a 77-60 loss to UCLA in Los Angeles last weekend, while Oregon State came into Thursday on a three-game winning streak. Back at the Coors Events Center, where the Buffs are close to perfect (29-3) under Tad Boyle’s command, the tides for both teams were turned.
“I was obviously pleased with the way our guys came out ready to go tonight,” said head coach Tad Boyle. “The whole key against Oregon State is that we prepared for them. We had to play 40 minutes tonight because we knew how explosive they are. I thought we did a great job on Jared Cunningham. Nate Tomlinson is, I think, one of the most under-rated defenders on our team and in this league.”
Oregon State junior Jared Cunningham came into this game averaging 18.2 points per game and leading the Pac-12 in scoring. Due to the Buffs’ strong defensive effort led by senior Nate Tomlinson, Cunningham ended Thursday’s matchup with just 12 points, going 5-of-12 from the field.
“I’ve been around and I’ve defended a couple guys in my time,” Tomlinson said. “So I just tried to be smart with him. I watched a lot of film so I saw what his tendencies were and I just tried to make him take tough shots.”
Carlon Brown dunking an alley-oop from a Nate Tomlinson pass. The dunk ignited the Coors Event Center in a Buffaloes 82-60 victory Thursday night. (CU Independent/Andrew Kaczmarek)
The game was relatively close starting out, but an alley-oop from Tomlinson to senior Carlon Brown brought the Coors Events Center to life and put the Buffs up 27-22 with 7 minutes left in the first half.
“A heck of a pass by Nate and a great finish by Carlon Brown, it was a big-time play,” Boyle said. “It got our students into it, it got our players juiced up, and we kind of took it from there.”
The Buffs kept the pressure on for the entire second half, holding the Beavers to 36.2 percent from the field overall (21-58) and shooting 51.8 percent (29-56) from the field themselves.
The Buffs were led by sophomore Andre Roberson who ended the game with 16 points and 15 rebounds. He is the only player in the Pac-12 to average a double-double per game.
“I just try to be consistent just like everybody else,” Roberson said. “Everybody wants to play good, and I just felt like we had to go out and play big tonight. Coming off the loss to UCLA, we had to rebound off that and I think we did that tonight.”
Colorado basketball is now in preparation mode for its next Pac-12 matchup against the Oregon Ducks (16-6, 7-3). The Buffs take on Oregon on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Coors Events Center in Boulder.
The Ducks come into Boulder having won four Pac-12 road games this season. But like they were against the Beavers, the Buffs are well-prepared, Boyle said.
“They’re a mentally tough team, a well-coached team,” Boyle said. “They know what they do, it’s not going to be an easy game. We’re going to have to make plays offensively and be aggressive. Our perimeter guys are going to be challenged defensively, our post guys athletically. We’re going to have our hands full.”
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