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Colorado edges Portland, 76-63

The Buffs struggled, but were able to jet past the Pilots

NCAA Basketball: Legends Classic-Texas vs Colorado Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado played their first true road game of the season and were able to defeat the Portland Pilots, 76-53.

The Buffs struggled early as they usually do in road games and they struggled with pieces of the game they usually struggle with. Portland led for almost the entire first half thanks to sweet-shooting and Colorado playing like they had never seen a zone defense before. Against that zone, CU couldn’t create many clean shots and they committed lots and lots turnovers, as you would expect. They trailed at the half 30-28.

The second half was much stronger for the Buffs. They still had fits with shooting — they shot 43% from the field and 26% from three — but they were able to tighten up the defense and dominate the Pilots on the boards. With a solid team effort on the boards, the Buffs doubled Portland’s offensive rebounding totals and generated close shots from there.

Derrick White didn’t play his best game, struggling with fouls, turnovers and shooting, so the Buffs had to get offense elsewhere. Apart from those offensive rebounds and those high percentage second chance points, Colorado got the most production out of Xavier Johnson. Johnson had 19 points on 5-11 from the field and 8-10 from the foul line. He carried them in the second half as they took the lead and extended it to the final 76-63 scoreline.

Next up for the Buffs will be Xavier Musketeers. Xavier is currently No. 7 in the nation, but will drop in the rankings after losing 76-61 at No. 9 Baylor earlier this week. The game will be at home on Wednesday, December 7. It will start at 7:00 p.m. and will air on the Pac-12 Network.