On Thursday afternoon, a chorus of cardboard cutouts filled the University of Colorado Events Center to witness head coach Tad Boyle’s CU Buffs beat the No. 17 Oregon Ducks, 79-72. The win puts Boyle’s squad at 8-3 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play while making CU a perfect 10-0 all-time in home games against Oregon.
Coming into the game as a two-point favorite despite their separation in the polls, unranked Colorado came out strong off the boards and ended a hotly contested first half with a 33-31 lead. The second half then proceeded to become a series of streaks by both teams, including an 11-0 Buffs run, an 11-2 Oregon run that cut CU’s lead to 49-44 before another 7-0 Buff rally cemented their ultimate lead. Boyle emphasized a need for consistency on defense and striving for three stops in a row or a “kill” as Boyle explains it.
“I don’t know what it was in the second half, but I know in the first half we only had one kill,” Boyle said. “Our goal is to get three of those each half. We talked about that. (I said to the team), ‘The only way you are going to make a run and expand this lead is to get stops.’ We were able to do that.”
After a slow start going 0-for-5 from the field, senior guard McKinley Wright IV took a scary fall when he collided with an empty chair on the Oregon bench. Then, he went off. Twenty-one points and 10 rebounds later, the star from Minnesota showed Colorado yet again that he can be a huge difference-maker on the court. Meanwhile, Tulsa transfer senior forward Jeriah Horne continued his rise as another key piece for the Buffs, scoring a season-high 17 points in another game-changing supporting performance. Overall, Colorado ended up with four players reaching double digits in scoring between Wright, Horne, senior guard D’Shawn Schwartz and junior forward Evan Battey.
On the other side, the Ducks saw stellar performances from their stars, but a less than impressive night from the rest of their lineup. Guard Chris Duarte and forward Eugene Omoruyi finished the night with 27 and 18 points respectively, but all others finished with 27 points combined. This lack of consistency throughout the lineup helped to doom Oregon as the game went down the stretch.
While CU extended its eye-popping home record against Oregon to 10-0, Boyle was quick to dismiss the streak, pointing out that the Buffs are still winless at Arizona. Nevertheless, CU’s win over a ranked opponent should help elevate the Buffaloes as they attempt to get their do-over from last year and make the NCAA Tournament.
Colorado’s Saturday game against Oregon State has been postponed due to COVID-19 issues within the Beavers’ program. CU’s next task will come against the Utah Utes in Salt Lake City on Monday in a game that was originally scheduled for March 6.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Thomas Gahan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contact CU Independent Visuals/Operations Manager Nigel Amstock at email@example.com (Nigel was on assignment for Rivals.com, images displayed are used with permission)