Following a rough loss to Cal last week, the Buffs returned home in need of a big win in their first home game of the new year. That goal was accomplished as the Colorado Buffaloes (10-6 overall, 2-3 in conference play) dominated the Oregon Ducks (8-7 overall, 2-2 in conference play) in a 68-41 win at the CU Events Center Thursday night.
“I think you see it, not in the record itself but in the wins and losses that we’ve had,” said junior forward Tristan da Silva. “We have had really good games and really tough losses for us. That’s been an issue for us the whole season so far. And that’s why we’ve got to get back into playing consistently, getting into a rhythm, and making sure that we do the stuff that we can control.”
Coupled with the commanding win, numerous Buffs players had career-record nights. Tristan da Silva broke his career point high for the third time this season. Previously, da Silva broke his record against Northern Alabama and then again against Northern Colorado. Da Silva broke his 26-point record with a 30-point night against the Ducks. Compared to 15 points combined between the last two games, Da Silva had 15 points entering the half against Oregon.
“Tristan needs to be aggressive,” said head coach Tad Boyle. “He’s not a volume shooter, but he’s efficient in what he does, and he finished tonight. With K.J. [Simpson] out, we knew he had to score for us.”
Colorado entered this game shorthanded. Starting sophomore point guard K.J. Simpson was out due to an illness, and graduate transfer Jalen Gabbidon missed his second game with a knee injury. With Simpson being absent due to illness, Julian Hammond III shifted into the starting line-up. Hammond stepped up and showed out, setting a career-high 16 points, four rebounds, and three assists. The third Buff to establish a career record was Luke O’Brien, who had 11 rebounds. Following da Silva and Hammond, Nique Clifford hit double digits on the stat sheet with 13 points.
“We know if we defend and play together, we can play with anyone,” said Hammond. “We practiced all week with a lot of focus and intensity on defense. Now we have to do it every night.”
Colorado started strong early, securing their lead in those first seconds, and didn’t trail the rest of the night. Both Hammond and Da Silva hit three-pointers, adding to Colorado’s lead. Midway through the half, Colorado went on an 8-0 run extending their lead 30-11. This was the longest scoring run for the Buffaloes. Colorado led with an 18-point lead 37-19 into intermission.
Halftime did not slow down Tad Boyle’s Buffaloes, as they came out strong in the second period. Less than four minutes into the half, Clifford’s two-point basket gave Colorado their first 20-point lead. From this point on, the Buffs’ lead never dipped below 20 points. In the game’s final four minutes, Colorado stretched their lead to 27 points and ended their domination of the Ducks, 68-41.
“A big-time effort by our guys,” said Boyle. “We won this game in practice on Monday, in practice on Tuesday, in practice yesterday. It wasn’t a real fun film session on Monday. I got after them. But they responded.”
Statistically, the Buffs dominated and held Oregon to an all-time-low score. In Dana Altman’s 13 years as head coach, this is the lowest-scoring game of his career. On all fronts, Colorado controlled the stats. The Buffs held the Ducks to a 27 percent field goal percentage and only one three-point basket. The Buffs had a 45.5 field goal percentage compared to the Ducks and hit their three-pointers at a 35 percent clip.
“You could tell from the get-go on the first couple of possessions that we were locked in defensively,” said Boyle. “We got some deflections, we were active. It wasn’t Oregon’s best night, there’s no doubt about that. But I like to think we had something to do with that. I told the team at shoot-around the team that rebounds the ball I think is going to be the team that wins. That was us, and I think the score showed that.”
This performance may be the push Colorado needs heading into their next home game against the Oregon State Beavers.
“I told the guys I’m tired of bounce-back wins,” said Boyle. “Let’s string something together and not get complacent. We have to fight complacency.
The Colorado Buffaloes will be at the CU Events Center on Saturday night, facing off against the Oregon State Beavers. Tip-off will be at 7:30 p.m. MST and broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Malaina Humphreys at email@example.com.