For the second time in as many days, Colorado won 59-56 in the Pac-12 Tournament after their opponent's last second three fell short. Despite going scoreless for four-and-a-half minutes in the middle of the second half, the Buffs managed to hold their own defensively and eventually converted down the stretch as they fed Josh Scott in the post. Scott finished with 11 points while Askia Booker led Colorado with 17 points. With the win, the Buffs move to 23-10.
Things the Buffaloes did well:
Colorado had an excellent first half and put together complete performances on both sides of the ball. They shot 42.9 percent in the first 20 minutes and finished the game shooting at a 44 percent clip. With 13:17 to go in the first half, the Buffs went on a 10-2 run that was fueled by Jaron Hopkins. The run ended with 9:09 to go and although Hopkins only had three points over that time, he provided good play off of the bench and helped the Buffs break out in transition. He also added three rebounds and three assists.
Askia Booker once again took over. He had 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting and only had two turnovers. He picked his spots hitting jumpers and layups when he needed to. Xavier Johnson had a second consecutive strong performance against Cal and scored 10 points and added eight rebounds. He made hooks from the post, was firing from beyond the arc and showed his versatility all game long.
When Cal rallied in the second half, Josh Scott was there to stop the bleeding. He had 11 points on 3-of-8 shooting and went 5-of-7 from the free-throw line. The offense stagnated and the game looked like a repeat of last Saturday against Cal when the Buffs couldn't score. But Scott stepped up and went to work against David Kravish and the double teams that were sent his way.
Xavier Talton was one of four Buffaloes in double figures and had 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting along with three rebounds. Since entering the starting lineup, Talton's improvement has been almost as important as Askia Booker's. His defense has been stellar and he has continued to hit tough mid-range shots.
Colorado held Cal to 5-of-22 shooting from three and 41 percent from the field. They also won the rebounding margin 38-29 and had 10 offensive rebounds for the second straight game.
Things the Buffaloes struggled with:
Once again, the Buffs had a scoring drought in the second half that almost cost them. They starting rushing on offense and had a stretch of five possessions in which they turned it over four times. Cal narrowed Colorado's 10-point lead to one, but the Buffs never surrendered.
Colorado turned it over 13 times, went 6-of-20 from three and had another woeful game at the free-throw line making only nine of their fourteen attempts.
Colorado will play Arizona on Friday at 7 p.m. MT. The Buffs got blown out 88-61 at the Coors Event Center the last time they played Arizona. And on Thursday, the Wildcats gave the Utes a 71-39 beatdown. It's unlikely that Colorado pulls of the upset, but even with a loss the Buffs are in the NCAA Tournament.