After giving up nine first half layups to a game Wyoming squad, Colorado's defense stiffened in the second half. Spencer Dinwiddie hit crucial free throws down the stretch, as CU pulled off a 63-58 victory over the Cowboys, their first win over Wyoming since 1996, when Chauncey Billups wore the black and gold.
"Well, if you are looking for the definition of winning ugly, I think you saw it tonight," said head coach Tad Boyle. "It wasn't easy, it wasn't pretty, but we'll take it and move on."
Wyoming spent the game's first 20 minutes looking a lot like the team that handed the Buffs their first loss of 2012-13 in Laramie. CU struggled against the Cowboy's 2-3 zone, kicking the ball around the perimeter and settling for contested outside shots. Wyoming shot 5-of-10 from downtown in the first half, taking a 10 point lead, but a late-first half spurt led by Askia Booker (who finished with 14 points) brought the Buffs back to within 31-26.
Out of the break, the Buffs looked to what Boyle referred to as their strength - the interior of Xavier Johnson, Wesley Gordon and Josh Scott. The trio scored CU's first eight points of the second half, tying the game at 34.
Colorado exhibited much more patience against the zone in the second half. They looked to get the ball at the top of the key, and then look down low to Gordon or Scott, who finished with 12 points.
Solid free throw shooting by Dinwiddie, down the stretch kept the Cowboys at arm's length. It looked like Wyoming might have a chance to tie the game with a three with time expiring, but Xavier Talton converted the second of his two free throws to ice the game.
After the game, Dinwiddie, who finished with a team-high 15 points, Scott and Boyle agreed that playing a solid Wyoming team this early in the season will pay dividends in February and March.
"Wyoming is tough, well-coached, and they don't beat themselves," said Boyle.
Next up for Colorado is a date with Jackson State on Saturday at 10 a.m.
Colorado's offense still needs major improvement against zones - CU finished with just four assists. The last time the Buffs recorded four or fewer assists and still managed a ‘W' was December 19th, 1977 against Jacksonville... Boyle shortened his bench considerably in the second half, as only Talton, Dustin Thomas, and Jaron Hopkins notched more than a minute of action in the final 20 minutes of play... 9,429 attended Wednesday night's game...
Player of the Game
Josh Scott - 5-of-7 from the floor, 12 points and nine boards. Can't ask much more out of the big man from Monument.