Contact CU Independent Assistant Sports Editor Alissa Noe at Allisa.Noe@colorado.edu
For the first time in 60 years, the University of Colorado men’s basketball team met up with Brigham Young University. For the first time in 60 years, the Buffs defeated the Cougars at home, 92-83.
“That was a really good win for Colorado basketball,” head coach Tad Boyle said. “I think we beat a good team tonight. I think it’s going to be one of those wins when we look back… they’re going to win a lot of games as this season unfolds. They’re going to be one of the top teams in their league and I’ve got a lot of respect for the teams we just beat.”
After winning eight straight, the Buffs now sit at 8-1 with no inkling of stopping anytime soon.
“I think it’s just the off-the-court camaraderie and our chemistry,” George King said of the team’s ever-growing success. “We hang out a lot off the court and it makes it a lot easier when we’re on the court and we’re going through adversity, and guys aren’t afraid to call guys out or just to pick a guy up. Maybe last year we didn’t have that as much.”
Part of that perhaps lends back toward senior forward Josh Scott, who for the third straight game earned a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. It marked the 28th of his career and the fifth this year alone.
But despite those large numbers, Scott was not the highest scorer of the night. That accolade went to sophomore guard George King, who finished the night with 23 points.
It was also the first time all season the Buffs played for a near 8,000 people.
“It’s about time,” Scott said. “I think we have a really good team. I’d be lying to say that I wasn’t a little disappointed especially when we got on a roll right before CSU not to have more people there. But it was really cool to see all those people show out and especially with finals and the snow, we’re really appreciative.”
A few minutes into the second half, the Buffs ballooned their lead to 25 points, but the Cougars wouldn’t go out without a fight. With 21 seconds left, they closed the gap to a mere six points, 89-83. But their efforts were to no avail.
“I think we turn the ball over, I think that’s part of our issue with this star team is that we turn the ball over too much at inopportune times,” Scott said of BYU’s last run. “They were hitting threes, we didn’t know they could get back in the game shooting threes.”
For the game, the Buffs shot 45.6 percent from the field as they sank 31 of 68 shot attempts and made a stellar 41.7 percent of their three-point attempts (10-24). The Cougars, on the other hand, only managed 39 percent from the field (30-77) and 31 percent from deep (9-29). Four Cougars contributed double-digit scoring, led by Nick Emery (23), Zac Seljaas (18), Kyle Collinsworth (17) and Kyle Davis (10). The rest of the team didn’t really show up.
“I thought we played about 36 minutes of pretty darn good basketball. I thought we defended well, rebounded well, we battled,” Boyle said. “I thought we played a pretty good basketball game. We weren’t great, we weren’t perfect, but we played good enough to win against a very good basketball team.”
Things started off quickly for the Buffaloes early as they gained the lead in the opening seconds of the game, and throughout the rest of the first half, they never lost sight of that achievement. For about the first eight minutes of play, the Cougars gave the Buffs a run for their money, on offense as they eventually tied the ball game up at 15.
Colorado wasn’t about to let that slide on its home floor in front of a near sellout crowd.
Over the next twelve minutes, the Buffs kept shoving the Cougars deeper and deeper into the hurt locker, and the hole they dug themselves into proved too much to handle. With 2:46 remaining in the first, the Buffs extended their lead to 17, 46-29.
Although the Cougars decimated that lead ever so slightly before the break, they were still hurting by double digits. At halftime, the score read 48-36 in Colorado’s favor.
For the half, the Buffs buried the Cougars on offense and absolutely destroyed them from beyond the arc. They shot a lights-out 52.6 percent from the field (20-38) and made six of their 13 threes (46.2 percent). Scott lit the hardwood with 16 points early on, but Talton was right behind him with eight points after a solo 5-0 run by the senior guard.
They also had 11 assists in the first half alone.
On the other side of the ball, the Cougars struggled to get the ball through the net. They only made 14 of their 36 field goals (38.9 percent) and 3 of their 10 three ball attempts. Kyle Collinsworth scored nearly a third of his team’s points with 10.
Over the first four minutes of the second half, the Buffs started to run away with the game during a 13-0 run to put the Cougars down by 25, 61-36. But the Cougs weren’t about to turn over in their graves just yet.
Just six minutes after getting down by 25, BYU responded with an 18-3 run to get them semi-back in the game. That brought the score to 64-54 with 11 minutes left.
With 2:43 left in the game, they finally cut the lead down to single-digits, 85-77. That’s when things started getting interesting. With 21 seconds on the clock, BYU closed the gap to 89-83 and nearly gave every fan in attendance a heart attack.
But the upset city just wouldn’t make its way into Boulder’s set of nicknames, as the Cougars fouled their way into oblivion as a last-ditch effort. By the end of it all, the Buffs ran away with their eighth straight victory, 92-83.
They return home for the Las Vegas Classic on Friday, Dec. 18 as they take on the Nicholls State Colonels at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.
“I like this team,” Boyle said. “I like their composure, I like their intensity, I like they’re taking care of business, which we have to continue to do.”