The Colorado Buffaloes keep humming along. They picked up their fourth straight win by defeating the Stanford Cardinal, 77-64. They are now 11-3 overall and 5-2 in Pac-12 play, surely good enough to appear in the Top 25 on Monday.
The Buffs were prepared for a tough opponent and had themselves a fight early. Stanford’s Oscar Da Silva is so good and so consistent, while freshman wing Ziaire Williams is a surefire top-10 pick. The Buffs struggled to keep them out of the paint as they combined for 21 points in the half.
Of course, playing at altitude has its advantages, and the already-thin Cardinal looked gassed before halftime. That’s when the Buffs took complete control with a 16-2 run to close out the half, capped by Tristan da Silva’s buzzer-beating three. It was a perfectly balanced scoring output from CU, as they scored 40 points without any player in double digits.
Colorado continued their balanced attack, weathering whatever comeback attempt Stanford had in them. The issue, at least early in the half, was that their hot shooting cooled after the break. Now that they weren’t making threes at a near-50% clip, the Buffs had to attack the paint for layups and free throws.
That’s when it’s nice to have Evan Battey and Jabari Walker. Battey was more aggressive than usual in the paint, getting to the rim and drawing fouls. He finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. Walker, meanwhile, continued his hot play with 11 points and 8 rebounds, which is crazy that that’s become his normal output off the bench.
It would be remiss to gloss over McKinley Wright’s brilliant play. He was as good as ever, posting 14 points, 8 assists and 5 rebounds. If the Buffs keep winning and contend for the conference title, he’s going to win Pac-12 POY in a landslide.
Colorado ultimately came away with a 77-64 win, but even then the score is closer than the game would suggest. It’s a great win for CU, if expected, and it was the toughest matchup of a friendly 8-game stretch we’re in the middle of. Next up is a road trip to the languishing Washington schools, beginning with the Huskies (1-11) on Wednesday before the Cougars (9-3) on Saturday.