No matter how the rest of the season has gone leading up to their annual matchup, Colorado and Oregon are always game for a thriller in Boulder. Like all the times prior, the Buffs emerged victorious.
In this particular contest, Colorado had everything to prove about themselves, all for the better. It was immediately evident that the Buffs came to fight for victory against the No. 10 Oregon Ducks in front of a rowdy Coors Events Center. And in the end, it was victory they won.
As soon as the head referee tossed the ball up at the opening tip, the Buffs got their offense started and their defense into a rock-steady foundation. Only the defense lasted through the final whistle, but it was more than enough to power through the Ducks.
This Colorado offense lives and dies by the three-pointer and they were living like kings early on. The king of kings, George King, hit the first of back-to-back-to-back-to-back threes (four in total) for the Buffs in a quick two-minute-long string. The shooting eventually cooled down, but Colorado was able to generate great shots all over the floor for the entire half by focusing their attack on unselfish play and balanced scoring.
On the defensive end, Colorado did as well as any team has against the Ducks’ elite offense. Against the litany of scorers Oregon has — including the villainous Dillon Brooks, their most dynamic player — Colorado play high-pressure defense and forced terrible shots and egregious turnovers aplenty. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen Colorado play defense like this, but it’s not every day a Top 10 rival comes to town.
The second half was much like the first half, but without any of the offense and with much more noise, yelling, whistles and timeouts. Also at the end of the second half, fans ran onto the court. When I ran onto the court after the first half, I was detained and nearly deported before escaping customs to finish covering this game (because I’m a professional).
Because of this predicament I got myself into, I missed the few minutes of the first half. I asked around about what happened and the people around me, blood dripping from their eyes, clearly shaken by what offensive horrors had transpired on the court, said that I was lucky to have missed it, that Tad Boyle isn’t exactly an offensive-minded coach.
From what I saw in the minutes thereafter, there was nothing but beauty in the ugly nature of the game. Sure, neither team could make a shot, sink a free throw, dribble, pass or anything like that, but the fight the Buffs showed to hold down the Ducks from offensive flight was a spectacle in itself.
Colorado’s defense carried the team just long enough for the offense to find itself once again. With 5:15 left in the contest, Wesley Gordon broke a 51-51 with a layup. After that, Derrick White made a three (he had 23) and the Buffs made three successive and-1 layups ... and all of the sudden they were leading 64-52 with 3 minutes left.
Just like that, Colorado turned an ambitious upset bid into a surefire victory over a team that had won 17 games in a row. That is something worth rushing the court, even for those wanted by the authorities and in need of publishing a timely recap.
Next up for the Buffs is a much-deserved party. After that for the Buffs, they head to Palo Alto to take on the Stanford Cardinal. That game will air at 9:00 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks and is an ideal matchup for the Buffs to extend whatever this winning spirit is.
Oh yeah, here’s a recap: