There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes and the Buffs’ beating Dana Altman’s Oregon teams in Boulder (except for that one time, but we don’t talk about that). Thursday night’s game further proved that to be true, as Colorado defeated the Ducks by a score of 86-70.
Colorado came out of gates swinging, as the Buffs quickly zoomed out to a 15-9 lead thanks to 7 quality points from Cody Williams. After which, some sloppy defense in the paint and questionable foul calls allowed Oregon to crawl right back into the game and take a 20-18 lead.
Williams decided that enough was enough, breaking through the Ducks’ defense for a quick layup to tie things up. That proved to be just the beginning of an onslaught of Colorado scoring, powered by Williams and J’vonne Hadley. Williams and Hadley’s 9 combined points helped the Buffs go on an 17-2 run in the latter half of the first, which really separated the two squads.
The Buffaloes were simply draining everything they were throwing up, making 8 of their final 11 shots from the field to end the half. Colorado was taking great care of the ball too, only turning the ball over three times in the entire first half. Aided by their stellar shooting and 14 points from Cody Williams, the Buffs headed to the locker room with a healthy 43-34 lead.
Immediately to start the second half, it looked as though the wheels were beginning to fall off of the Buffaloes’ wagon. Colorado turned the ball over four times in the first 100 seconds of play, allowing Oregon to easily erase Colorado’s cushion and take a 50-49 lead. KJ Simpson immediately hit a quick three and a layup, once again putting the Buffs on top. The Ducks responded by reciprocating with five points of their own. It was beginning to look like we were about to enter a war of attrition down the stretch, but the Buffs entered overdrive.
Colorado put the clamps on Oregon halfway through the second half. The Ducks comeback was largely due to the three ball, which Colorado completely eliminated at the end of the game by guarding the perimeter much better. Oregon couldn’t get good looks, while the Buffs scoring pursuit couldn't be stopped. Colorado outscored the Ducks 27-13 to close the game out, thanks to the efforts of Williams and Simpson. At the final whistle, Colorado knocked off the Pac-12’s only undefeated team in conference play by a comfortable score of 86-70.
The player of the game was none other than Cody Williams (big shocker, I know). Colorado’s highest rated recruit in program history further cemented the fact that he is a force to be reckoned with on both sides of the floor on Thursday night. Williams finished the contest with a game-high 23 points, along with two earth-shattering blocks. Before tonight, Williams was already getting very strong consideration for the NBA’s first overall pick in the 2024 draft. Cody’s stellar performance against the Ducks is certainly going to help his draft stock fly even higher.
After 12 years of duking it out in Pac-12 play, the Ducks just couldn’t ever find their footing in Boulder. The Buffs are now 12-1 against Oregon at home since 2012, much to the delight of CU fans. This is more than likely the last time Oregon will ever play at the CU Event Center, as the two schools are going separate ways in the era of conference realignment. It’s a real shame that we’re losing an automatic conference win at home going forward.
Colorado’s win moves their conference record to 4-3, putting them right back into Pac-12 contention. Tonight’s game was honestly just the undercard for the women’s game tomorrow, when the third-ranked Buffs take on fifth-ranked UCLA in the first top five matchup in Colorado basketball history.