After trailing 16-4 to start the game and entering halftime with a 12 point deficit, a loss seemed certain for the Buffaloes today at the Coors Event Center. In the second half, however, Spencer Dinwiddie and Colorado rallied and earned a 70-62 win over Harvard. The defense was key as the Crimson managed only 20 points in the final 20 minutes and were much less efficient shooting due to the Buffaloes' stout defense. Unlike Dinwiddie's previous two games where he hurt opponents with his ability to get to the free throw line, today he showed off his terrific shooting and led the Buffs with 17 points on 5-of-9 from the field and was 4-of-7 from three. This was Colorado's biggest win of the early season and Tad Boyle and his team deserve some credit for their resiliency and the way they responded after a brutal first half.
Things the Buffaloes did well:
After the perimeter defense was exposed in the past games and the first half, the Buffaloes turned it around in the final 20 minutes. Harvard had only scored 10 points in 13 minutes in the second half and finished with 20 points after scoring 42 in the first half. The Crimson were 6-of-12 from three in the first half and ended the game 7-of-23; they also shot 55 percent in the first half and finished at 38 percent from the field.
Offensively, the Buffs finally played well against a zone defense. They went 8-of-19 from three and three consecutive threes from Xavier Johnson and Spencer Dinwiddie fueled an 18-2 run that gave Colorado a lead that they never relinquished. Johnson made up for some lackluster defense by scoring 11 points and went 3-of-4 from three. He also picked up 6 rebounds. Josh Scott was crucial for Colorado's second half success as well. He battled back after a poor first half and finished the game with 12 points and 11 rebounds, with 8 of them coming on defense in a crowded key down the stretch. Wesley Gordon had 5 points and 11 rebounds, but more importantly, 4 of those rebounds were offensive and he also had 3 blocks.
Things the Buffaloes struggled with:
Askia Booker had an up and down game and scored 12 points on 5-of-15 shooting. He made some nice drives inside to get easy layups, but settled on the jumper that Harvard kept giving him too often and continued to miss. Xavier Talton also didn't have his best performance. He scored nine points and picked up five rebounds, yet had three costly turnovers and was a reason that Tad Boyle had to shorten the amount of rest for Spencer Dinwiddie.
Obviously, the first half was terrible. The defense was too inconsistent and Colorado continuously turned the ball over and finished the game with 16 turnovers. The bottom line, however, is that the Buffs responded and won against a difficult opponent and started to show why they were given such high expectations at the beginning of the year.
Colorado plays Air Force on the road at 2:00 on Saturday Nov. 30. The Buffaloes have much more talent than the Falcons, but hopefully this won't be a letdown game. After an emotional win at home, Colorado will need to put away Air Force early. In-state rivals on the road never prove to be easy and the Buffs need to win the games they should in order to be an elite team.