Josh Scott scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, as Colorado survived a scare from the Lipscomb Bisons 84-75 Sunday afternoon at the Coors Events Center.
"There are some things we've got to get better at, as a team, as a program, as a group," said head coach Tad Boyle. "That's what this time of the year is all about. It's about learning, it's about growing, it's about learning what you need to get better at."
Colorado jumped out to an 8-2 lead after three Scott field goals around the rim. Lipscomb switched to a 2-3 zone following the first media timeout, which slowed down CU for a pair of possessions.
Jaron Hopkins beat the zone down the floor for his first points of the game, ending the brief drought. Askia Booker came alive against the zone, penetrating gaps, scoring when he could, and finding open teammates. Booker scored 13 of his 18 points in the first half.
"I thought Askia played a good floor game tonight," said Boyle. "He made simple plays, let the game come to him, and didn't force the issue."
Booker finished with seven assists, and only three turnovers.
Hopkins and Tre'shaun Fletcher came off the bench to provide efficient scoring alternatives to Scott, Booker, and Xavier Johnson, who finished with 10 points. Fletcher was a perfect 3-for-3 from the field in his 16 minutes.
After leading by 24 points with 3:48 left in the first half, Colorado limped into the locker room, as a 15-5 Lipscomb run cut the lead to 49-35 at the half.
"I thought that lineup that we had in there at the end of the first half had a great opportunity to show what they could do, and what they're made of," said Boyle. "We gave up a lot of points in the last four minutes of that first half. I wasn't going to substitute them and put certain guys back in the game."
For the second straight game, Colorado was outscored in the second half. CU settled for trading baskets, allowing Lipscomb to close the gap by hitting threes. The Bisons knocked down 8-of-16 three-pointers in the second half, cutting the lead to six with just over 90 seconds to play.
Colorado was able to keep Lipscomb without a field goal the rest of the way to hang on for their fourth win on the season.
"I think we maybe should have won this game 84-60, maybe 84-65," said Boyle. "But we don't have the mentality and the defensive mindset."
Colorado returns to the court on Wednesday evening for the first matchup with San Francisco since the Dons shocked the Alec Burks and Cory Higgins-led Buffs in the Bay Area back in 2010.