Coming into Thursday night’s game against Oregon State, there was virtually no way Colorado could lose. They didn’t lose but it was much closer than expected and may have had a different outcome without some unexpected brilliance from the role players as they won 85-78.
Colorado started the game with the greatest lineup we’ve ever seen in the Coors Events Center: Thomas Akyazili, Bryce Peters, Deleon Brown, Lucas Siewert and Tory Miller. This, of course, was a statement from Tad Boyle to say to the starters, “Quit losing, you bunch of weirdos.”
This starting lineup surprised with a 9-2 run to start the game, but they faltered a bit from there, especially on defense. Not that Colorado has played exceptional defense very often this year, but if Oregon State makes 10 of their first 11 shots, you may have a problem on that end.
Luckily for the Buffs, George King was there to hold down the fort. In the first half alone, he scored 16 points on 6-10 shooting, including 3-6 from three and this monster dunk:
King has been in a bit of slump as of late, so this was encouraging to say the least.
The other star of the half was Thomas Akyazili, which is a sentence I never thought I would ever write. Akyazili had 5 assists in the half, played terrific defense and looked like the player we hoped we would be coming into this season.
The Beavers were never as good as their ~60% shooting showed because no one is that good, especially not this team, but they were able to find plenty of holes in Colorado’s porous defense. Oregon State’s shooting percentage dropped precipitously in the second half, but it’s hard to say if the Colorado defense picked up or the OSU offense went back to the rancid land where it belongs.
With the Beavers shooting as poorly as they were, it seemed likely, if not probable, that Colorado would pull away and get their first win of the season. They eventually pulled away, but it wasn’t easy. All the offensive production from King went by the wayside , Derrick White had a rare stinker, and even the reliable Xavier Johnson struggled. The Buffs would have been hosed, but a surprising hero stepped up: Bryce Peters.
Peters has been something of an enigma this season, as he’s shown off just enough to let us dream, but not enough for Boyle to rely on him. He’s still a mystery, but we now know he carry the team when he’s feeling it. With a bevy of drives to the rim and deep shots, Peters had a career-high 15 points on 5-6 shooting and was seemingly the only player CU could count on in the second half.
Thanks to the early shooting of King, the late emergence of Peters, and, most of all, the ineptitude of Oregon State, Colorado was able to escape with a 85-78 victory.