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Buffaloes get passed Stanford, assist NIT chances

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The Buffs had more than enough passing and shooting as they blew out the Cardinal.

NCAA Basketball: Oregon at Colorado Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Coming into their Thursday night meeting with the Stanford Cardinal (14-15, 6-11), the Colorado Buffaloes needed the win to simultaneously move up in the Pac-12 standings and boost their NIT chances. With an incredible passing and shooting performance, the Buffs did just that as they dismantled the Cardinal, 91-72.

Early on, Colorado’s offense couldn’t get to the rim as much as they’d prefer, but that didn’t matter. Against the Stanford zone, the Buffs were happy to settle for threes, and while that strategy often backfires, it was bountifully fruitful in this contest. Towards the end of the first half, the Buffs hit a barrage of three-pointers to take and extend the lead to 41-35 at the break.

The Buffs came out of halftime with a hot hand and put away the Cardinal with possibly the best stretch of basketball they’ve played all season. This fiery 27-14 run was made possible by passing galore. In just the first three minutes of the half, the Buffs had 7 assists on 8 made shots. In this stretch and the second half in general, the ball moved player to player like it was consciously looking for the best shot possible. Colorado finished the game with 25 assists with just 6 turnovers, which may be the most impressive stat they’ve posted all season.

Leading this passing attack was Derrick White, Dom Collier and Wesley Gordon, as they combined for 18 assists in the game. Those three took turns finding cutting teammates with remarkable passes, including some marvelous no-look passes from Gordon and a few insane outlet passes from White and Collier. The facilitation of those three has been fun to see all season, and if they play like that the rest of the season, we may have a bit of fun as the season winds down.

Colorado finished this second half thrashing with a 91-72 win. Seven players ended up scoring in double figures tonight, and only Collier and the walk-ons didn’t score. As a team, they shot a sublime 35-62 (57%) from the field and 11-23 (48%) from three. This was arguably the best offensive basketball the Buffs have played all season and hopefully that will continue onward.

Next up for the Buffs is Senior Day against the Cal Golden Bears. That game will tip-off on Saturday, March 4, and will air on Pac-12 Networks at noon. The Buffs will have pride and an NIT bid to play for, so you best be there to see these seniors off.