On Saturday, Jan. 7, the Colorado Buffaloes beat the Oregon State Beavers, 62-42, in another great defensive effort in Boulder. The Buffs held OSU to 34% shooting while also holding the Beavers to the lowest points total of their season, and the Buffaloes only gave up 18 points in the first half.
Colorado led the game from the first whistle, as they started with a 7-0 run and never looked back. The Buffaloes forced Oregon State to take difficult shots and responded by hitting 50% of their threes in the first half. With a 15-point lead heading into the second half, Colorado continued their defensive pressure, slowing the game down with more passing, and founding the easier shot. Colorado finished with 15 assists on their 21 made field goals, their highest margin of the season.
In what was their second straight game holding a team to less than 45 points, Colorado is now proving itself as one of the best defensive teams in the nation. After only giving up 41 points to the Oregon Ducks in the previous game, the Buffaloes continued the trend by forcing 19 turnovers and only allowing Oregon State to hit two of their six free throws.
“Really good win. Impressive, impressive defensive effort again by our guys. I gotta tip my hat to them,” said head coach Tad Boyle. “[They] really responded to the challenge I gave them earlier this week. We put back-to-back [good] efforts together.”
In the blowout win, Tristan da Silva once again led the charge for Colorado, as he finished with 17 points on 70% shooting while also grabbing five rebounds and two steals. Da Silva was named Pac-12 player of the week on Jan. 9, after K.J. Simpson received that award the week before. With an average of 23.5 points against both Oregon schools, while also being a central anchor in the defensive scheme, da Silva’s increased output has only led to good things for the Buffaloes.
“I felt like our team, in general, trust me to shoot the ball and make plays for others,” said da Silva after the game. “I have a great group of guys around me that share the ball, and I also like to share the ball. I trust everybody to hit shots, to make their layups, and to make plays for each other, so credit goes to everybody.”
Though da Silva was the only Buffalo who reached double-digit scoring, other players made their mark in different statistical categories. Junior Luke O’Brien finished the game with nine rebounds, almost matching the 11 he brought down against the Ducks. Though he hasn’t been shooting well, the 6’8″ wing can guard all positions on the court and brings great energy off the bench.
“I love his activity. His confidence. He’s not playing afraid to make a mistake,” said Boyle. “That’s a really positive thing for him. It’s not something that should go unnoticed because that shows great growth for Luke O’Brien. I’m really proud of him for that.”
K.J. Simpson returned to action for Colorado after the sophomore was sidelined against Oregon due to an injury. In his return, Simpson only had six points hitting one of eight shots, but found other ways to impact the game as he finished with seven rebounds and six assists. With Simpson and da Silva as the Buffaloes’ best scorers, it is a great sign to see them both emerge as leaders on the offensive side of the ball.
“He’s growing,” said Boyle. “There are going to be nights we need him to score. There will be nights we need him to distribute and play a great point guard game. “Seven rebounds are fantastic. He’s had 10 before. He got a double-double [with] points and rebounds. It was good to have KJ back.”
After their back-to-back wins against the Pac-12 teams in the state of Oregon, the Buffaloes have now won seven of their last eight games and are currently 11-6 overall and 3-3 in conference games. The recent stretch of wins comes in a critical time for Colorado, as after a slow start to the season, the Buffs still have hopes of making the NCAA tournament.
The Colorado Buffaloes look to keep this two-game win streak alive as they next travel to Southern California to take on both USC and UCLA. Their game against USC is on Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. MST, and their game against No. 7 UCLA will be on Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. MST.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Eli Gregorski at email@example.com.